College Students Could Have Voting Rights Limited
PHOTO: College students would have to reconsider where they register to vote or risk a tax credit for their parents, if a proposed bill passes through the State Assembly.
April 5, 2013
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – This week was like college finals week for North Carolina state lawmakers as they rushed to file any new bills before this week's deadline.
And some voting rights advocates are giving them a failing grade.
One bill, Senate Bill 666, would eliminate a parent's tax deduction for a dependent child if that child registers to vote in the community where he or she goes to college instead of at home.
UNC Chapel Hill senior Zaina Alsous says she feels like lawmakers are targeting students who might not agree with their politics.
"Those who have the majority in the legislature right now are trying to change the rules so that our voices become even less significant," she says.
Another bill proposed this week is the Election Omnibus bill that would institute a photo ID requirement, eliminate same day registration and reduce the number of early voting days for North Carolina residents.
Bob Hall, executive director of the advocacy group Democracy North Carolina, says Senate Bill 666 would operate like a poll tax for college students and their parents, forcing parents to give up a $2,500 tax credit or allow their student to vote.
"It's really an attack on college students of both parties,” Hall says. “They're going to suffer as a result of this. It's a way to discourage participating and confuse things."
Another bill, the Ella Baker Voter Empowerment Act, would allow for registration and voting on election day, and would expand weekend hours for early voting sites.
The proposed bills will now be sent to their respective committees before going up for a vote. Next is the deadline for House members to file bills.