Monday, March 07, 2011

GOP Thinks the Time's Right to Suppress the Youth Vote

Timely article is today's WashPost that highlights North Carolina's proposed voter ID law, in particular for the way it (and similar laws proposed in New Hampshire and other states) will disproportionately disenfranchise college students from voting where they're going to school.

For the record, the right of college students to vote wherever they're attending college was established by the Supreme Court in 1979 in Symm v. U.S.

But it's a perennial itch certain Powers That Be can't help scratching, and they think they've got the right "scratcher" in voter ID laws that demand the correct and current local address on the ID.

If there was ever any doubt of why college students are always targeted by voter suppression laws, the Republican Speaker of the New Hampshire state House had a candid and unguarded moment: "Voting as a liberal. That's what kids do."

Well, true, they haven't shown much affection for some Republican death-wishes, like treating gay people as not-quite-full citizens and treating pregnant women like breeding stock. But they are, legally and ethically, full members of the Commonweal after they reach the age of 18.

The movement to disenfranchise them because they carry photo IDs without local addresses (driver's licenses from other counties or other states or college IDs), will eventually bite the Republicans in their posteriors. "There's no doubt that this [New Hampshire] bill would help Republican causes," said Richard Sunderland III, head of the College Republicans at Dartmouth College. But, he added, "this doesn't help if the Republican Party wants to try to win over people in the 18-to-24 age range."

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