Nichols: Voter ID should not be problem for students

Ian Nichols

Recently in the state of Iowa, our secretary of state proposed a new voter ID bill. The bill is pretty straightforward: You must have a proper form of identification in order to vote.

Last Tuesday, the College and Young Democrats of Iowa went to the Iowa Capitol to protest this bill. In the email they sent out, they called this bill dangerous and a threat to democracy. Their argument was that this bill would set unnecessary requirements on voters that would make it more difficult for certain voters, such as the poor, elderly and students. I am having a hard time understanding their argument.

Under the proposed bill, an ID issued by the government of the United States, the state of Iowa or any Iowa public, private or secondary school or university works. The ID must show the name of the individual, feature a photograph and contain an expiration date. For example, our red ISU ID cards would work fine.

Those individuals without an accepted form of ID would be able to obtain a voter identification card from the Department of Transportation that would be free of charge to the voter. Also, if you don’t want to go through that system, a voter may establish proof of identity by a written oath of an attesting person who provides an ID. The oath shall advise the attesting person and the person wishing to vote that falsely attesting to a voter’s identity is a class “D” felony. This is very similar to the same way election day registration functions.

In my opinion, this bill is not dangerous at all, but helpful to establish quicker and more accurate voting. This is not like back in the old days when they tried to have fees to keep the poorer people from voting. I don’t see how a simple thing such as an ID is such a big deal to have to provide. Other than for establishing your identity, the main purpose of an ID is to make sure you meet the requirements to receive certain items or do certain activities.

If you want to purchase alcohol or see an R-rated movie, you have to show an ID. Simple tasks such as getting on the CyRide require you to show an ID. If you want to get a gun or hunting and fishing license, you have to show an ID. If you claim you are too poor and thus it is difficult for you to get an ID to vote, you have to show an ID in order to receive food stamps. If you claim you are too old, you have to show an ID in order to receive Social Security and Medicare. The student argument is even more ridiculous, because student school IDs are allowed. Every student is already required to have one.

The purpose of this bill is just to make sure you actually are who you say you are. The government just wants to make sure that dead people, illegal immigrants or anybody else that is not legally allowed to are not voting. For example, in 2008, a study conducted by the Florida Sun Sentinel found there were more that 65,000 ineligible and duplicate voters on Florida’s registration polls. Of these, 600 were deceased people. There was also the debate in the Senate race in Nevada in 2010. Republican challenger Sharron Angle was leading in the polls on the day before the election.

After the results were counted, Democrat incumbent Harry Reid miraculously won the election by a few percentage points. Speculation circled that in Reid’s brother’s district, illegal immigrants were brought in to vote illegally. There is always going to be voter fraud on both sides, but if a bill like this will be able to cut down on this, it will be a lot more fair.