Student Voter ID Madness: The Sweet and Not-So-Sweet of 16 Schools’ State Voter ID Laws

Campus Vote Project and Fair Elections Legal Network have caught March Madness like the rest of the country. In the spirit of the season, we took a look at the Sweet 16 teams and compared their voter ID brackets2laws and whether they accept or don’t accept student ID. CVP has more information on student ID as voter ID on our site.

No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 5 Maryland

While Kansas allows student voters to use public and private college and university ID cards, the Terps win this game in a blow-out because Maryland has no voter ID law. Better luck next year, Jayhawks.

No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 3 Miami

Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was struck down on state constitutional grounds a couple years ago. Florida will allow student ID cards at the polls and, even if you forget yours, you can still vote a provisional ballot which will be counted as long as your signature matches the one on your registration form (but if you can help it, show an ID and don’t leave your vote up to signature-matching). We award this game to Nova because no voter ID law is still better than a flexible voter ID law. Sorry, Gators; you kept it close.

No. 4 Duke vs. No. 1 Oregon

Oregon wins this game in double digits because it has no voter identification law and North Carolina prohibits Duke students from using their student ID cards to vote at the polls. North Carolina’s ID law has been challenged in federal court and a decision is expected soon.

No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Texas A&M

Oklahoma won this match-up because Oklahoma’s voter ID law allows public college and university students to use their ID cards but Texas’s strict voter ID law does not allow any college or university ID cards at the polls whatsoever. The Texas voter ID law was found to violate the Voting Rights Act last August but litigation is ongoing and the law remains in effect for now.

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Indiana
Indiana puts an end to UNC’s Final Four dreams. North Carolina’s voter ID law does not allow any form of college or university ID but Indiana’s voter ID law does allow public college and university students to use their campus IDs to vote. The Hoosiers move on.

No. 6 Notre Dame vs. No. 7 Wisconsin

This is the closest Sweet 16 ID-law match-up. A very narrow win in double OT on a technicality, if you will. Indiana allows college students at public schools to use their college IDs to vote, but not private school students–Purdue approved, Notre Dame denied. Wisconsin has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country but it does allow public and private college and university ID cards…as long as they have a name, photo, signature, issuance date and expiration date not more than two years after it was issued! AND student voters also need to bring proof of enrollment like a tuition fee receipt or enrollment verification letter to the polls! Indiana was favored to win here but because UW-Madison students can request a compliant photo ID card from their school and Notre Dame students simply must get one of the other forms of photo ID on the list, the Badgers win by a hair.

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 4 Iowa State

Virginia’s photo ID law is by no means the worst in the country. Any eligible voter can obtain a free voter ID card with their photo on it at a registrar’s office, and student voters can use their private or public college and university ID cards. But Iowa State pulls off an upset with a total lack of a vote-suppressing voter ID law.

No. 10 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Gonzaga

Almost all voting in Washington is mail-in voting but occasionally if someone needs to vote in person, they will have to show an ID and student IDs are accepted. But New York has no voter ID law, so Syracuse had no trouble advancing to the Elite 8.

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