Republican lawmakers in several states have been attempting to create new obstacles to voting for college students due to their increasing impact on Democratic voting results. In Idaho, for example, Republicans utilized their majority power to prohibit student ID cards as a form of identification for voting purposes.
Despite this victory, Republican attempts to prevent out-of-state students from voting in their campus towns or to revoke preregistration for teenagers have failed in New Hampshire and Virginia. Even in Texas, where early voting sites on many college campuses were shut down by legislation in 2019, a new proposal to eliminate all college polling places faces an uncertain future.
Chad Dunn, co-founder and legal director of the UCLA Voting Rights Project, has warned that although such bills may be initially met with outrage, lawmakers tend to reintroduce them repeatedly until they eventually become law.
Young voters have experienced an increase in turnout in recent election cycles, particularly due to issues such as abortion, climate change, and the Trump presidency. For instance, they voted in larger numbers in the 2018 midterms, where college students emerged as a significant voting bloc. Nevertheless, the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights Program Director, Sean Morales-Doyle, pointed out that the turnout of young voters is still outpaced by older voters.
With the 2024 presidential campaign in progress, the fight for young voters has gained more significance.