Texas was recently criticized for passing a law that declares unacceptable a student id as a stand alone legal form of identification to vote. Why would Governor Perry and the Texas legislature restrict certain types of voting verification?
Federal law does not prohibit illegal immigrants from attending a state funded college or university. If only a student photo id can be used to vote, as some states have passed, an illegal immigrant could vote, thereby declaring voter fraud legal.
As an example, Wisconsin recently enacted a bill permitting polling places accept a student identification card as proof of voting eligibility. The law specifies that the student id must include:
- the student’s name
- the date the card is issued
- the date the card expires, which cannot be more than two years after the date the card is issued
- a photo of the student
- the student’s signature
- independent proof of residency such as inclusion on the institutions housing roster
To be added to a university’s list of students eligible to vote, the students must sign a document declaring they are an U.S. citizen. Furthermore, the identification card presented by the student must match the information on the list. Sounds great, right? No way an illegal immigrant can bypass the state’s strict regulation?
But, once again, federal law trumps state law; this time with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and Plyler vs. Doe. This federal law prohibits any level of the educational system “require students or parents to disclose or document their immigration status, or make inquiries that may expose their undocumented status.”
If the student does not have to disclose to ANYONE, including the college or university at time of admission, his legal status, it can be concluded that an illegal immigrant can theoretically be placed on the list of eligible voting students even if he is not an U.S. Citizen and then vote in an election.
By protecting the right of an illegal immigrant to an education, the federal government is denying legal citizens the right to a fair election.