After spending years falsely claiming Republican-led election integrity efforts are suppressing the votes of racial minorities, Democrats have found a new demographic to add to their list of so-called “oppressed” groups: college students.
Over the past few weeks, legacy media outlets have run several hit-pieces attacking Republican-controlled state legislatures for passing laws prohibiting college students from using their student ID as a form of voter identification. Predictably, these outlets gloss over how the laws in question are designed to ensure students are voting in the state in which they’re legal residents.
In a March 29 article titled, “Republicans Face Setbacks in Push to Tighten Voting Laws on College Campuses,” The New York Times accused Republican lawmakers of enacting “new obstacles to voting for college students.” The article takes specific aim at Idaho’s HB 124, which stipulates that student identification cards are no longer considered valid forms of voter ID.
“Alarmed over young people increasingly proving to be a force for Democrats at the ballot box, Republican lawmakers in a number of states have been trying to enact new obstacles to voting for college students,” the Times article states, later framing Republicans’ control of the Idaho legislature as a “power monopoly.” Unsurprisingly, the Times omits the fact that Idaho law permits residents to sign a sworn affidavit when voting if they don’t possess a valid form of voter ID.
The New York Times isn’t the only outlet guilty of employing Democrats’ rhetoric to smear Republicans’ election integrity efforts. On March 28, Axios published an article with unsubstantiated claims that Ohio’s recently enacted voter ID law “could have serious implications for out-of-state students this spring.” As The Federalist previously reported, HB 458 requires Ohioans to provide an unexpired “Ohio driver’s license, state identification card, or interim identification form issued by the registrar of motor vehicles or a deputy registrar,” a U.S. military ID card, or a U.S. passport or passport card, in order to vote.
With college student IDs not listed as a valid form of voter identification, Axios attempts to forward the left’s “voter suppression” narrative by describing the so-called “threat level” the law poses to out-of-state students.
“The fear is that obtaining the ID card could disrupt an out-of-state student’s financial aid, which is based in part on residency status at home,” the article reads.
Despite leftist outcry, such laws go a long way in helping ensure elections are honest, fair, and secure. While speaking with The Federalist, Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project, explained how “student IDs don’t necessarily demonstrate residency … citizenship, or eligibility to vote in a particular jurisdiction.”
“If you are actually a legal resident of a state, it’s very easy to get a photo ID,” Snead said. The media-manufactured controversy over these laws is “just a rehashing of the old attacks on voter ID laws, which have never panned out in any way.”
Bloomberg News and The Harvard Crimson have also been among those to publish articles framing Republican election integrity bills as laws designed to suppress young voters.
Democrats Court Young Voters
As admitted in the aforementioned articles, Democrats have made targeting young voters — specifically college students — a key part of their electoral strategy. In recent years, left-wing nonprofits have used colleges as vehicles to run Democrat-favorable get-out-the-vote operations. Among them is Civic Nation, a group led by Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.
As The Federalist reported, Civic Nation leads the “ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge,” a leftist-backed initiative established in 2016 that encourages colleges to increase voter participation among students. To date, nearly 1,000 universities across all 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in the initiative.
Democrat efforts to mobilize college students to vote was also seen in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race earlier this month. During that contest, VoteAmerica — a left-wing nonprofit — announced it was launching a “Wisconsin Campus Voter Turnout” program designed to encourage Wisconsin’s “233,238 students on 24 college and university campuses” to vote in the election. Democrat candidate Janet Protasiewicz defeated Republican Daniel Kelly by 11 points in the race, giving liberals control of the state’s highest court for the first time in 15 years.
During the 2022 elections, young voters (18-29) broke for Democrat candidates over Republican ones by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, making college campuses fertile ground for Democrats to expand their voting base. While their grossly dishonest coverage of Ohio and Idaho’s voter ID laws may suggest otherwise, legacy media don’t care about real voter suppression when it actually happens. (See Harris County, Texas, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and a different Wisconsin election involving Daniel Kelly as examples).
The real reason Democrats are throwing a hissy fit over GOP-backed election integrity laws is that they don’t want their voters to play by the same rules as everyone else. Approaching election administration in this way does nothing but further undermine Americans’ already-waning confidence in the electoral process. So long as they win, Democrats are perfectly fine with that.