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ND House defeats bill proposing student IDs for voting

BISMARCK – House lawmakers defeated a bill Wednesday that would have required giving North Dakota college students a photo ID card containing their date of birth and address to create another acceptable form of identification for voting.

Senate Bill 2330 died on a 28-63 vote in the House, a striking reversal from its 46-0 passage in the Senate last month.

The bill was introduced in response to reports that some college students were turned away from the polls in November and as an attempt to fine-tune election laws changed by lawmakers in 2013, which included eliminating the voter affidavit option for those without proper ID.

The House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee gave the bill an 11-3 do-not-pass recommendation, after two college presidents raised liability concerns about putting students’ addresses on the cards because they’re also used as keys for residence halls.

Rep. Vicky Steiner, R-Dickinson, who carried the bill, noted in her floor speech that the secretary of state’s office also raised concerns because student IDs are not tied to the state’s central voter file.

Students can change their driver’s license to vote with their current address, Steiner said.

“So it is reasonable for us to require college students to obtain proper voting identification just as other voters do across the state, to treat students as the adults we know they are,” she said.

No one spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor.

The House previously passed HB 1333, which would do away with the student certificates used in the last election and allow for the use of bills and bank statements to help prove residency. That bill is now in the Senate.

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