Judge upholds ban on use of student IDs as voter ID

A judge has upheld a new state law that bans the use of student IDs as voter identification.

The League of Women Voters and BABE VOTE, an advocacy group, sought to toss out the 2023 laws — which also created a free voter ID to replace the use of student ID. They argued the laws disenfranchised young voters.

Ada County District Judge Samuel Hoagland was not sold.

“Plaintiffs seek to equate student identification cards as (a) form of age discrimination against younger voters, but not all young people are students and not all students are young people,” he wrote in his ruling Monday.

Hoagland also said the state has a valid interest in making sure voter IDs are consistent — one of the arguments legislators made in support of the laws.

Attorney General Raúl Labrador’s office defended the laws on behalf of Secretary of State Phil McGrane, the state’s chief elections officer.

“This was a meritless lawsuit from the beginning,” Labrador said in a news release Tuesday. “Rather than encouraging young people to obtain their free state voter IDs, advocacy groups took legal action against the state, alleging age discrimination.”

“We are of course disappointed with this result but are closely reviewing the court’s decision and will be deciding in the coming weeks whether to appeal,” BABE VOTE said in a statement to Idaho Reports Tuesday.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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