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Idaho House decides student ID is no longer good enough as voter ID

James Dawson/Boise State Public Radio

The bill's sponsor says the identification issued by schools is not secure and should not be accepted.

The Idaho House has decided student identification cards should no longer be legally accepted for young people who want to vote. Canyon County Republican Tina Lambert sponsored the bill.

“The problem with student ID cards is that they’re not secure. Proof of identity is not required to get one. Some are going to say that this bill will prevent young people from voting. That is certainly not the goal," she said. "The goal is simply to ensure that only qualified people are voting in Idaho elections.”

Lambert says students may still present driver’s licenses or other state-approved ID cards, tribal identification, passports or concealed carry licenses.

Opponents, including Boise Democrat John Gannon, say students who don’t have drivers’ licenses would have to pay 10 to 15 dollars to buy one of those state-approved cards, something he finds unacceptable.

“The problem with this bill is that it does cost money at the Department of Transportation, so essentially it’s a poll tax if you don’t have an ID," Gannon said.

Gannon says another bill working through the legislature would direct the Department of Transportation to provide free identification cards to those who need them to vote, student or adult. It has not yet passed, so Gannon urged the House to hold off on approving this bill until it does.

The House moved ahead anyway on a 59-to-11 vote and sent the bill to the Senate.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.