GOP Wants to Suppress College Voting in Ohio


In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that students have the constitutional right to vote where they go to school, even if they're considered an out-of-state student. But since the 2012 election, Republicans in Indiana, North Carolina, and now Ohio have bolstered legislation that discourages college students from voting. This is a blatant effort at voter suppression by the GOP, but it shouldn't unsettle liberals. Rather it should give them something to look forward to — these are the final twitches of a political party fading into inglorious and insignificant extinction.

In Ohio, eight of the 14 public universities consistently provide students with documents that make it possible for them to register to vote at their college. In the State House though, Republicans are trying to advance a budget amendment requiring schools that issue those documents to charge the student only in-state tuition, even if the student would otherwise pay the higher out-of-state rate. The Ohio approach thus punishes the student votes and the school. Ohio universities say that lowering the tuition for everyone who wants to use their right to vote at school would cost the system $370 million a year.

What this all means is that an out-of-state student who registers to vote at school gets in-state tuition — depriving an institution of the difference between in and out-of-state tuition. Now, any student that doesn't jump on that deal probably isn't sharp enough to succeed in college, and the student vote will likely increase. So, yes, there are unintended consequences. But as mentioned above, it would cost the schools an estimated $370 million annually. That means less money for grants, scholarships, etc. for the low-income in-state students, which translates to less upward mobility for the poor. That sounds about right for a Republican initiative.

The GOP is a desperate party that knows their days are numbered. They're grasping at whatever they can to attempt to deny Democratic voters the ability to exercise their voting rights —who are increasingly characterized not only as young voters but also college educated voters. With the growing minority population and number of women who give a damn about their reproductive rights, the GOP is sorely losing. I'd even go so far as to say that America needs to start searching for a new political party if we intend to remain a two-party system.