In 1979, the Supreme Court affirmed a decision holding that state cannot place unique burdens on college student votes that do not apply to other members of the electorate. Nevertheless, Ohio Republicans now want to punish state universities that encourage students to cast a ballot. Under a budget amendment filed by Republicans in the Ohio House, state universities that provide documents enabling students to register to vote in their college town, rather than in the state where their parents reside, will be forbidden from charging those students out-of-state tuition. Thus, the amendment would effectively reduce the funding of state schools that assist their students in registering to vote.
This is the second GOP attempt to restrict college students from voting in just the past month. About a month ago, a North Carolina Republican lawmaker filed a bill that would raise taxes on families with college students if the student registers to vote at school rather than in their parents’ hometown.
It’s not difficult to guess why Republicans support these — and other — efforts to make it harder for college students to cast a ballot. As former New Hampshire House Speaker William O’Brien (R) said when explaining his support for measures to make it harder to vote, “the kids coming out of the schools and basically doing what I did when I was a kid, which is voting as a liberal. That’s what kids do.”