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Not So Fast: Purdue Student, BMV Officials Clash Over Voter ID Law

Vote Hat tip to Blue Indiana for posting this first-person account in the Purdue Exponent from a student who couldn't cast a real ballot on Tuesday because of Indiana's complicated -- and restrictive -- photo identification statute:

"My job as city editor at the Exponent puts me in contact with political candidates, election officials and others involved with the voting process. I have unusual access to the process. During the campaign season, I urged everyone to vote.

"But Tuesday ended without my vote being counted due to an Indiana law, or a bureaucrat's reading of it.

"Commonly known as the voter ID law, it requires voters to present a valid Indiana or U.S. government-issued photo ID with an expiration date.

"I'm from New Jersey and I have a New Jersey-issued driver's license, which is not accepted as a valid ID at Indiana polls, despite being registered to vote here. The state allows you to pick up a voter ID at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles free of charge when you present proper documentation.

"I pulled up a Web page on the Indiana Secretary of State's Web site, www.in.gov/sos/photoid/checklist.html. The page lists the requirements to obtain a voter ID.

"According to that list, I may provide my birth certificate, a local bill for address verification and my out-of-state driver's license.

"For your information, I voted absentee by mail in Tippecanoe County last fall. This election cycle, I thought I would do it in person – thus I had to obtain an ID from the BMV and vote on Election Day.

"On Monday, I went to the BMV with my proper state-law-dictated documentation and I was told they cannot issue a voter ID while I hold an out-of-state driver's license. The employee gave me a sticky note with reference to Indiana state code 9-24-16.

"I went home and got on Google. To my surprise, the code mentions nothing about prohibiting me from getting a voter ID with my out-of-state license. Adamantly (and perhaps a little stubbornly), I went back to the BMV on Election Day to speak with the manager.

"She retrieved a memo she got from some upper-level BMV official in Indianapolis that directed the agency to not issue voter IDs to those with driver's licenses from other states, pursuant to Indiana code 9-24-16.

"The problem: Code 9-24-16 doesn't say that. Ironically, if I wanted to obtain my ID to vote, I could have easily lied and said I did not have another driver's license and instead used my credit card to fulfill the self-identification requirement. I was not required to sign an affidavit stating I didn't drive, I only had to be dishonest with the BMV employees.

"But I don't think I should have to lie in order to vote. Instead, I cast a provisional ballot on Election Day and am now trying to resolve the issue with the county election board."


c'mon. it's just a future member of the 'liberal media'.

Except that that's exactly what happened last year here in Indy with a professor at IUPUI. I should know, I was working the polling place. He filed a provisional ballot, but we'll never know how it was resolved. He was going to have to go to the BMV and then to the City County building to fight for his vote. I suspect he may have waited to see how the results turned out! An ID law isn't a bad thing, ours is just a bad execution of what could be a good thing.

It's always good to see our youth so interested in local elections that have nothing to do with them. I personally think that all college students wanting to vote should vote absentee from their own hometown. The same thing happened last year with a Notre Dame student.

Furthermore, this isn't just a problem with college students, it is a major problem with snowbirds. We had to turn away a couple in our town that had Florida licenses. You can't have your cake and eat too. The state is working with state colleges to issue them an ID that meets all of the requirements to eliminate this problem.

Are you kidding me 9:22?

Students from out-of-state are more than likely going to live (at least) four years in our state. Don't you think they deserve representation?

They are affected by local policies just as much as the next resident. It does me no good to vote in Brownsburg if the Mayor of Bloomington is the one making decisions that directly impact my life.

I don't buy that argument at all.

It was the very young Ed Treacy when as Democratic County Chair in Bloomington organized the lawsuit that allowed college students to register and vote in their university town instead of being forced vote absentee in their former hometown only. That successful lawsuit transformed politics in Lafayette and Bloomington forever!

Voter registration laws are very clear. If you want to vote here you must reside here. Having a photo ID of where you reside isn't rocket science. Students can vote here because it is the law. Many switch colleges during their 4 or more years and if they are going to vote where they reside in our state than why not get a photo ID here?


Why not make voting as difficult as possible...

Clearly, you missed the point entirely 9:53. The student WAS trying to get an Indiana photo ID so he could vote. Once again it's the eff'd up BMV that caused this debacle! And, does it not bother anyone else that he could have lied to get the ID?

He wasn't willing to give up his Illinois license is why he couldn't get an ID. He should have just voted absentee if he is not willing to give up his drivers license.

Here's the question to answer.

Is he an Indiana resident or not? And the answer is in how his Purdue tuition is being charged... is if he's an out-state-resident then he should not vote here.

If he wants to change his residency, a good place to start would have been to get an Indiana driver's license, switch his car insurance to here, etc.

This issue isn't about voter IDs... it's about residency.

Here's a riddle for you 10:19 --

Say I move here from out of state, and I attend IU for five years for my undergrad, and then attend for five years to get my masters and doctorate in something. I've lived in Bloomington for a total of ten years, and yet the University will continue to call me an out-of-state resident because I moved here in order to get an education.

So you're telling me a decade's long residency in the state shouldn't permit someone to vote for who represents them?

I haven't heard anyone in Northwest Indiana complain, but I wonder if all of those NWI residents with licenses and plates issued by Secretary of State Jesse White's office were turned away at the polls?

The law isn't going to be any good if no one knows how to properly follow it. That is a valid contention for opposition to the law.

I'll have to look, but holding an out-of -state driver's license does not preclude voting in Indiana, if the residency requirements are met.

What kind of tuition he pays is irrelevant here. The rules for that differ.

Amen 10:19!

IC 9-24 explains clearly:

IC 9-24-1-7 8)

"A new resident of Indiana who possesses an unexpired driver's license issued by the resident's former state of residence, for a period of sixty (60) days after becoming a resident of Indiana."

If you're going to 'reside in Indiana' you are only exempted from obtaining an Indiana driver's license for 60 days. Being here longer than than that, with a NJ license, means your NJ license is legally worthless here.

I bet our subject is driving a car with NJ plates. looking further, IC 9-18 requires registering a motor vehicle in Indiana within 60 days.

As to voter registration:


The Indiana Voter Registration Guidebook says, "A college student may use either his home address or his college address as his registration address, but must claim one address or the other as the student’s legal residence."

IC 3-5-5-1
Purpose of chapter
Sec. 1. This chapter shall be used to determine the residency of the following:
(1) A voter or a person applying to become a voter.
(2) A candidate.
(3) A person holding an elected office.
As added by P.L.12-1995, SEC.10.

IC 3-5-5-7
Temporary residency
Sec. 7. A person does not gain residency in a precinct into which the person moves for:
(1) temporary employment;
(2) educational purposes; or
(3) other purposes;
without the intent of making a permanent home in the precinct.

If this woeful yet outspoken student had bothered to follow the law and establish legal and voter-registration-prescribed residency, there would have been no problem registering to vote.

Todd Rokita needs to take a long walk on a shirt pier.

Or another foreign junket.

This law is junk.

So it is ok to commit voter fraud if you do it by absentee? The Voter ID is such an important law but it does not apply to absentee voters? Absentee voters are not required to present ID, or confirm the address where the ballot is mailed. If the voter fraud is such a problem then why is the no check in the absentee?

I totally agree with you 10:47. My problem all along is that the ID law doesn't stop voter fraud where it is most likely to occur- Absentee voting. The law does require first time registrants who register by mail to submit proof of residency. If a person is "flagged" as needing to show proof, and they request a ballot by mail, they are required to provide that information before casting an absentee ballot.

When I was in law school, everyone wanted to get a Michigan Drivers License so they could qualify for loans and grants targeted for Michigan residents.

It must have taken a couple of professors to create this snafu.

I'll never understand, why, anyone, could be opposed to people showing ID before they vote. What's wrong with that? I think the public thinks the same way, big time. The Democratic Party most be afraid of something.

Also, this is what is wrong with giving illegals licenses, how do you stop them from voting, per 'Motor Voter'?

It's plain as the nose on my face. Democrats think they'll lose if people have to prove they are who they say the are..Republicans have, well, more to win if the system is at least not a free for all.

big willy, do you understand that I don't have to show any id for absentee?

I've never tried to vote absentee, so this is an honest question. let's say I knew nobody on my block was going to vote. could I just fill out a vote for all of them and mail it in?

I know if I were going to scam the system I'd be much more likely to drop something in the mail than show my nervousness to an actual human at the polling place.

yet this law doesn't do anything for absentee ballots.

I'll never understand, why, anyone, could be opposed to applying consistent rules across all forms of voting

Want to know how messed up the voter system is... I've been divorced for 15 years and my ex is STILL on the voter list here, even after having lived, registered and voted in five other Indiana cities.

Not only does that allow some potential for fraud, it also skews the voter turnout results as the past 15 years have shown 50% participation for this household when it was actually 100%.

If the voter ID law isn't tough enough on absentee ballot fraud, it should be revised so that it closes this potential loophole.

It should not, however, be eliminated. Just because the law isn't equally tough on all types of ballots doesn't mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water. In the interest of fair elections for all parties (or as fair as we can make them), we need to ensure that ballots are cast by legal voters.

And even if the law isn't perfect, some anti-fraud safeguards are better than none.

Absentee application and ballot signatures are cross checked. If you vote in person at the clerk's office you must provide ID.

The new Statewide Voter Reg System (SVRS) is making it easier to get rid of duplicates. If you are really concerned about how many times you are registered, then perhaps you should contact your county voter reg office so that it can be rectified.

We live in a highly transient society and this is why voter registration is so closely tied to the BMV. Obviously, voter reg offices can't keep track of where people live if the people do not take responsibility for their registrations. This is the real flaw- relying on humans to do what they should. It is against the law to be registered at more than one residence. The BMV, despite their major flaws, is actually making it easier to keep up with the moving voters. A photo ID is so essential to our everyday lives that I do not comprehend why people don't want to show it to vote. Heck, you can use your passport to vote. Voter laws are to protect those that do it honestly and to thwart those that don't.

So, let me see if I understand, Hypocrisy, the Indiana voter ID law isn't perfect, it isn't uniform because it doesn't apply to absentee voting by mail where all the fraud occurs, but it's still ok to make it more difficult if not impossible for poor people who don't drive to vote, jand we should keep it anyway because it's useful as a placebo. So what if a few thousand voters are disenfranchised each election or decide to say, in Justice Posner's now infamous words, "what the hell", voting's not worth the bother. I can understand why Republicans think that this is fine because a low turnout almost always favors their candidates. But if there's any justice left in this country, this Law is going down, and with it Todd Rokita's political future, thank God.

"A photo ID is so essential to our everyday lives that I do not comprehend why people don't want to show it to vote."

Because they don't have one, genius. A photo ID may be essential to your everyday life, but you are not everyone. I know, I know. Crazy.

There are ways to adjust this law so situations like this one -- and others that have been documented across the nation -- don't happen.

Additionally, we should fix the absentee loophole and make it easier for people to vote prior to an election. (Eliminate the absentee affidavit process, for example.)

I wouldn't worry too much about Rokita's political future, intrepid. Most folks know he doesn't have one, and eventually someone will slip him the memo.

Don't get me wrong! I believe that all voting should be to the same standard of ID. I don't see Todd standing up yelling about the fraud in absentee voting or the fraud going on in red counties for that matter! I know for a fact the a man that does not even know his own name as a result of a stroke voted in the primary! I am waiting on the poll books to enter in to the system so that I can check to see if he also voted in the general election. He was allowed to vote by absentee???????

RFID chips will be the answer to this non-problem.

What would be benificial in eliminating the absentee affidavit process?

I think something is up. If he is claiming to be an Indiana resident, he _cannot_ have both an Indiana ID card with a New Jersey Driver's License. In fact, if he has been an Indiana resident for longer than 60 days and is still driving on the NJ license, he is breaking the law (IC 9-24-1-7(8)). Not only that, he might be breaking the law depending on if the car he is driving is plated in New Jersey (IC 9-24-3-2(4))). Sounds like this guy should work for the BMV. He is a "driver" yet doesn't understand why he can't get an ID card from a Section of law called "Identification Cards for Nondrivers."

This guy is a driver _and_ resident of Indiana. As such, he has to get an Indiana driver's license at some point. The state gives you a pass after sixty days. I wonder just how long he has been living here? The BMV was right to deny him the ID card. My guess is that he was told he needed to get a driver's license, but did not want to give up his New Jersey license. Well, if you become a resident of a state, you have to follow the laws of that state. Sounds to me that someone at the BMV needs to design a handout with the correct IC codes and hand these out to folks instead of writing codes down.

"Students from out-of-state are more than likely going to live (at least) four years in our state. Don't you think they deserve representation?"

You get one vote and only one vote. Pick your state _and_ follow their laws. If you live four years away from home, Indiana laws says you are now a resident at your current address. You need to surrender your former state driver's license and get one from Indiana. It is that simple. Some folks don't want to do this because, (drum roll), they are suspended in their home state and don't want to pay their tickets.

As far as IU charging fees as a non-resident, all one has to do is view their website and see they can only do that until a person is 21 years old. Actually, there are a few other ways to get in-state rates as a resident if you are under 21.

I read the actual article. Seems that TDW only highlights the points that favor the liberals:

Note this from the article: "I simply choose not to change my driver's license issuing state."

Sorry Mike, your desire does not over-ride state law. Hopefully you get stopped driving on that NJ license and get the ticket you deserve. I knew there was more to this story. Just another college kid thinking their personal desires trump everyone and everything else. Funny how Mike wants to hold Indiana up as his "home" state, yet turns his nose up at the very laws of the state. Typical.

"As far as IU charging fees as a non-resident, all one has to do is view their website and see they can only do that until a person is 21 years old. Actually, there are a few other ways to get in-state rates as a resident if you are under 21."

4:16 -- I've worked for the school's financial aid office. You're completely wrong. My boss was a graduate student who was still paying out-of-state tuition at age 26. Getting in-state tuition if you are under 21 is nearly impossible. You essentially have to quit school and work here -- without attending school -- for twelve months.

From IU's website:"U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are 21 years of age or emancipated are eligible for resident student status after they have been physically present in Indiana for twelve consecutive months (prior to the first day of classes) without the predominant purpose of education."

I don't see anything about not attending school. It only says "without the predominant purpose of education." Get a damn full-time job, go to school part-time. You are now a resident. Go back to school full-time.

The problem is that for a lot of people, going part-time means no longer having health insurance from their parents -- or losing their scholarships -- and I don't know if you've seen the job market under our current Governor, but it isn't exactly burning up the charts.

Things do sound incredibly easy in theory, though...

"As far as IU charging fees as a non-resident, all one has to do is view their website and see they can only do that until a person is 21 years old. Actually, there are a few other ways to get in-state rates as a resident if you are under 21."

I have to agree with Thomas here, while I was at IU I met several people who were in their late-20s and older who had been attending IU for five years or more and were not able to get in-state tuition. One guy in his mid-30s had been at IU for nearly ten years, getting a bachelors, two masters, and now working on his Ph.D. When he moved to Bloomington with his family he sold his home where he used to live and bought a house here. Despite being a homeowner and resident of Indiana for nearly ten years, he's still forced to pay out-of-state tuition.

9:11, regardless what their website says, that's not the way it works. Think before you type, or ask around.

Thomas, you're wasting your breath. This crowd loves to tell themselves there was massive vote fraud. And they think they know e-x-a-c-t-l-y where it is: Democratic precincts ONLY.

It's not true. Never has been. Isn't now. Rokita spent hundreds of thousands of state dollars sending staff out to county clerks statewide, looking for examples, for over 18 months. He found none. Not one case that went unprosecuted, and only a few that were prosecuted.

Trouble is, their crowd doesn't mind nibble-sized demunition of their civil rights. Look around you. Wiretapping, abandonment of the Geneva Convention's principles, immunity for telecom execs...

Their answer? "Why are you worried if you're doing nothing wrong?"

Thank my God in Heaven our Founders didn't take such a narrow and ridiculous approach to the Constitution and our Bill of Rights.

Hint: it is the state's responsibility to prove you are not who you say you are, when you arrive at the polls. Always has been, and still should be. There wasn't a problem.

A little Rokita pandering to the base, thinly disguised as smacking Demo/poor,minority precincts, never hurt, huh?

What are YOU worrying about? YOU got to vote, didn't you? Why SHOULDN'T you show ID when you vote, if you show ID everywhere else in life?


Oh, for crying out loud, if you want to vote in Indiana, get a d*mned Indiana driver's license. Or does a New Jersey license give you greater latitude to get ticked off for non-starter issues? Besides, if she didn't want to give up her New Jersey license, she MUST be denied eligibility to vote, as that indicates her manifest desire through conduct to not permanently reside in Indiana - a requirement to maintain residency and Indiana citizenship versus out-of-state visitor status. (see IC 3-5-5-2(2) - under this provision she cannot vote based on her conduct contrary to the desire for residency). By actively keeping her New Jersey license, she cannot vote under IC 3-5-5-7 and is probably in violation of New Jersey Code 39:3-9b for improperly designating a New Jersey residential address as her place of permanent residence.

"I could have easily...used my credit card to fulfill the self-identification requirement." Then why didn't you? At least she didn't try to pass off a government organization membership ID (as in either Julia Carson's Congressional ID or her student ID of the government back Purdue University) as a legit form of identification.

Those poor college students who go to Notre Dame, DePauw, Wabash, Butler or other private schools cannot even use their college IDs for voting as they are not issued by a government supported school. High School seniors cannot use their high school IDs because no high school ID has an expiration date. Many urban high school students do not even have driver's licenses. Talk about unfair...but isn't that the point of the law....voter suppression.

The problem in this case isn't the voter ID law. It's the laws regarding getting a state issued ID card.

But, I'll confess, I'm confused by the residency issue. If someone is claiming to be a resident of Indiana, they should get an Indiana driver's licence (or ID card.) If they are not a resident, I'm not certain they are entitled to even vote.

I don't think, in this particular case, the voter ID law is the issue.


Is this the same Democratic Party that challenged Bethel College students in Mishawaka last week? There were college students coming out of the polls crying because they were told by Democratic challengers they would lose their financial aid if they voted. Yes, that's right Democratic challengers were intimidating the college student voters by threatening them with legal action and loss of their aid if they voted. The Democrats might want to get their the log of out of their own eye first.

"Many urban high school students do not even have driver's licenses."

Find me one of these students denied an Indiana ID card (which, if you do not hold a Driver's License, is free to applicants), and I might be inclined to believe you. Otherwise, you're simply saying your voter based is too unsophisticated to do something slightly more complex than purchasing a 6pack of beer.

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