Students Sue After Being Required To Show Student “ID” To Vote 

( Late last week, Idaho students filed a suit that’s looking to block a law in the state that removes student IDs as one of the acceptable forms to prove a voter’s identity when they head to polling places. 

One of the leaders of the group who filed the suit – Boise High School senior Rosaura Albizo Barron, who won’t even turn 18 until August – said in a recent press release: 

“Many students such as myself rely on our student IDs for transportation, accessibility and identification. This bill not only threatens our constitutional right to vote, but the only legitimacy we have.” 

Idaho youth are extremely involved in politics and voting, and their participation in politics has ramped up as of late. The lawsuit says that the number of people who are 18 and 19 years old who have registered to vote between 2018 and 2022 increased by a whopping 81%. That’s by far the largest increase in the country. 

Voter turnout has gone way up in this cohort as well. In the 2020 election cycle, 48% of all eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast a ballot.  

In Boise, an 18-year-old student of the high school won a seat on the school board – Shiva Rajbhandari. 

So, it’s no wonder, then, that these young people are looking to make their case for why they shouldn’t be hampered in voting by this new law. 

One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case, Elizabeth Frost, said in that press release: 

“In recent years, Idaho has enjoyed an unprecedented wave of youth political activism. Rather than engage with this growing youth activism, Idaho’s existing political power has tried to suppress it.” 

Idaho has required all voters to show valid photo ID if they want to vote for the last 13 years. To this point, acceptable ID forms have included driver’s licenses, passports, licenses for concealed-carry weapons (since 2017) photo IDs that the state Department of Transportation makes available for people who don’t drive as well as student IDs.  

Yet, a new bill that Governor Brad Little signed recently removes student IDs from the list of acceptable documents. Known as House Bill 124, it’s a bill that legislators say will improve election integrity by forcing all voters to use a form of ID that the government issues. Student IDs, by contrast, are issued by the schools themselves. 

During debate on the bill, one of its co-sponsors, Republican state Senator Scott Herndon, said: 

“The problem with them [student IDs] is there is no uniformity. The reason that we, again, want to get rid of the student ID is because we cannot have as much assurance through that method of identification that the voter standing at the poll to vote is who they say they are.” 

Yet, the plaintiffs fired back at that, saying in their complaint: 

“There have been no documented problems with voter fraud involving student identification during the 13 years in which such identification has been accepted in Idaho.”