Forbes Guest Column By Selene Gomez

Selene Gomez, National Outreach Director and Texas Voter ID Coalition Coordinator, wrote recently in about the voting challenges faced by college students and what VoteRiders is doing to help them.

Act Now To Ensure You Have Id To Vote

Voter ID laws are on the rise nationwide, and their impact will be felt differently across the country as voters go to the polls this year. An estimated 18 percent of citizens aged 18-24 do not have photo ID with their current address and name, making college students and young people among the groups that will be most impacted by new and stricter voter ID laws. This is especially true for students who attend a college or university from out of state, and for students of color.

We won’t have to wait to see the impact of these new voter ID laws – we already see how they’re sowing confusion and preventing eligible voters from casting a ballot. In Texas, where I live, thousands of voters had their vote by mail applications rejected for the March 1 primary due to new ID requirements. Texas could be a preview of what will unfold as new ID laws take effect this year in six additional states – and as 20+ states have pending voter ID initiatives at present.

Wherever you live, and for voters of ALL ages, voter ID laws can be a source of confusion and intimidation. Every state has different rules. And the rules can be different depending on how you vote. Voting at the polls often has different ID rules than voting by mail.

But when you’re a college student, things can get even more complicated. In the 36 states that have voter ID laws, student IDs are acceptable for voting in 13 states but never acceptable in 10 states. In the 13 remaining states, some student IDs work but others don’t cut it.

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