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U. of Iowa issuing temporary student ID card for voting

Andrew Hudson   ||   Nov 08, 2019  ||   ,

The University of Iowa is issuing temporary student ID cards for the purpose of voter identification at state voting booths. The temporary card features an expiration date needed to meet voter identification requirements in the state, and mimics the same aesthetic of the standard University of Iowa One Card.

According to a report from the Iowa City Press-Citizen, the temporary card was in part created at the suggestion of student government organizers. The cards were made available for use in the Iowa Legislature's combined school and city elections held on Nov. 5. The overarching goal was for the recent local elections to serve as a viable trial run for temporary card ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

According to the Iowa Secretary of the State office, unregistered Iowa residents can vote on the day of an election by showing a proof of residency and a university-issued photo ID, but only if the university-issued ID includes an expiration date. Not a feature on the standard University of Iowa's student ID card, the temporary cards all included an expiration date of Nov. 6 -- one day after the election.

The Press-Citizen report confirmed with Secretary of State officials that the temporary ID card can be used for election day registration, but students wishing to vote must bring the temporary card along with a separate proof of residency to the polls.

Even with addition of an expiration date, a university ID card alone cannot be used by pre-registered voters to verify identity at the polls. The voter must also provide proof of residency, which in Iowa can include a residential lease, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government documents.

"Voters who already are registered to vote cannot present only this ID as proof of identity at the polling place on election day," said Heidi Burhans, Iowa's Director of Elections, in an statement to the Press-Citizen. "If such a voter wants to use it, the voter also must provide proof of residency."

The legal language on the back of the temporary student ID card also raised some concerns. The Press-Citizen reports that legal counsel for the Iowa Secretary of State's office took exception to a clause stating that the card was "approved by the State of Iowa Secretary." Legal counsel for the Secretary of State's office noted that the ID card was not sanctioned in this way because the Iowa Code "does not allow a mechanism for doing so."

That same legal counsel also highlighted what it called a "misleading" clause on the on the back of the credential that states the temporary card's expiration date "does not signify the validity or duration of student or employment status."

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