The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that students have a 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 and North Carolina have floated legislation to discourage college students from voting.
In North Carolina, a Republican bill would raise taxes for the parents of any student who registers to vote at their college. The student votes, and the family gets punished.
Now Republicans in Ohio have come up with a new approach. In Ohio, eight of the 14 public universities routinely provide students with documents that make it possible for them to register to vote at school. But in the state House, Republicans are pushing a budget amendment (pdf) requiring schools that issue those documents to charge the student only in-state tuition, even if the student otherwise would pay the higher out-of-state rate. Under Ohio’s scheme, the student votes and the school gets punished.
State Senator Nina Turner says the measure would give universities an incentive to make it harder for students to vote:
“[T]o force Ohio’s universities to do the dirty work of voter suppression is unconscionable.”
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. See also, from 2012: Tea Party challenges hundreds of student registrations in Ohio.