The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Duke University are normally bitter rivals, but their student governments put aside their differences this week to issue a joint statement denouncing the state's recently passed voter ID bill.
The student governments' executive branches called the bill, which prohibits the use of college student IDs as a valid form of identification at the polls, "saddening" and "harmful" to including students in the political process.
"The involvement of college students was once lauded and seen as a sign of progress," the students wrote. "We, as the Executive Board of Duke Student Government and the Executive Branch of Student Government at UNC-Chapel Hill are disappointed with the swiftly changing voting process."
The Republican-backed bill, H.B. 589, will require voters to display specific types of government-issued IDs at the polls. It also eliminates preregistration for high school students and same-day registration and cuts early voting time. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) plans to sign the bill into law.
"This legislation disregards over 20,000 students in North Carolina, who value their chance to participate in politics," the student leaders said. "Our Student Governments have devoted much work and time in the past years to securing voting sites on campus, to registering over 1,000 voters, to encouraging students to participate and voice opinions, and to raising awareness for various legislative issues."
College students, especially those from out of state, are more likely to lack a state-issued ID. Non-white and Democratic voters will also be disproportionately affected by the new law, an analysis by the North Carolina secretary of state concluded, since they are also more likely to lack the required identification.