State Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood, filed a bill to add student IDs to the list of acceptable forms of voter identification at polling locations, according to a press release by her office. This would allow college students to vote after presenting their student IDs.
In the release, Zwiener said she introduced the legislation in order to encourage civic engagement among young people.
“When young Texans engage in the electoral process, they stay engaged for the rest of their lives,” Zwiener said. “Texas has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the nation. Let’s fix that by removing unnecessary barriers between our university students and the ballot box.”
According to the Texas secretary of state’s office, voters must currently present one of these forms of photo ID before being allowed to vote: a Texas driver’s license, a Texas election identification certificate, a Texas personal identification card, a Texas handgun license, a U.S. military identification card, a U.S. citizenship certificate or a U.S. passport. Zwiener’s bill would add student IDs to this list.
Students hoping to use their student ID to vote must be enrolled at a public college in Texas and be registered to vote. Like the other acceptable forms of ID, the student ID must also have a photo of the individual.
Zwiener’s release noted more than 600,000 students are enrolled in a public university in Texas, and said student participation is essential to the health of America’s democracy.
“Our democracy is precious, but it’s dependent on healthy participation,” Zwiener said. “Texas has the opportunity to celebrate and protect our democratic traditions by making it more accessible.”
According to the Campus Vote Project, out of all the states that require an ID to be shown at polling locations, Texas is one of six that does not accept student IDs. The others are Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee.