A group of students at Fisk University and Tennessee State University are fed up with the state’s restrictive voted ID laws and have no taken matters into their own hands. The 9 students recently filed a lawsuit against the state because they can’t use their college IDs at the polls.
Students feel that it’s unfair that they have to go one step further to vote. Which for most, include applying for a state-issued ID card, which is even more complicated if you’re an out-of-state resident. The lawsuit contends that Tennessee’s laws violate the 14th and 26th amendments.
“For four years, the Tennessee General Assembly has rejected every attempt to add college student IDs to the voter ID list, systematically shutting young voters out of the political process just as they become eligible to vote,” said Jon Sherman, an attorney working on the students’ case, to The Tennessean.
State officials argue that keeping college IDs—which are easy to duplicate—away from the polls can help workers come election day.
“More than anything, the lack of uniformity between school IDs from across the state would create a tough situation for poll workers,” said Tennessee House Republican Caucus spokeswoman Cade Cothren to The Tennessean. “By allowing only government-issued photo IDs to be accepted, we can help ensure the sanctity of the ballot box.”
Tennessee’s strict voter ID law has received staunch support, and lawmakers have argued that college IDs are easier to fake and harder to verify as authentic.
“More than anything, the lack of uniformity between school IDs from across the state would create a tough situation for poll workers,”Cade Cothren, a spokesman for the House Republican Caucus, told The Tennessean.
He said specialized schools, such as beauty academies and music institutes, would only add to the variation between public and private colleges.
“By allowing only government-issued photo IDs to be accepted, we can help ensure the sanctity of the ballot box,” Cothren said.
The attorney for the students hope that a federal judge will add student identification to the approved list.
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