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Rep. Clyde Blasts GOP Effort to Disenfranchise Student Voters in the Budget

Republican Omnibus amendment will cost Ohio students their right to vote
April 17, 2013
Democratic Newsroom

COLUMBUS – An amendment included in yesterday’s House Republican omnibus amendment to the state budget will force Ohio’s public universities to withhold essential documents from their students that could be used as voter identification.

“This is an outrage,” said Rep. Clyde.  “Republican attacks on student voters will not stop.  Students today are asked to shoulder far more of the cost of higher education than past generations and, at the same time, Ohio Republicans are trying to take away their voting rights and their ability to hold their representatives accountable.”

Ohio law permits a variety of documents to be used by voters as identification, including a document or a utility bill from a public university.  The budget omnibus amendment will require Ohio’s public universities that issue a letter or utility bill to a student for use as voter identification to declare that student in-state for tuition purposes.  This would result in a large amount of lost revenue Ohio’s universities, and would likely force them to discontinue the practice of helping students to vote.

“This is an unconstitutional attack on student voting rights,” state Rep. Clyde.  “I will be offering an amendment to strip this attack on students from the budget bill to protect fair and open access to the ballot for Ohio’s young people.”

The U.S. Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights to all citizens including the right to travel and the right to vote.  It’s been long settled that college students have a right to vote where they reside including at their college address.  It’s also been long settled that it is unconstitutional for the state to single out student voters as having to meet additional requirements in order to vote.  Because student voting rights are recognized fundamental constitutional rights, Ohio Republicans have to resort to dirty tricks to keep students from voting in Ohio.