Via the New York Times:

…lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age.”

The sound you just heard was the collective gasp of thousands of first-year Constitutional Law professors looking for their next great exam question.

This case is novel in the way that most of the race-based challenges to voter ID were novel: the lawyers are using a basic concept–in this case, the Constitutional standard governing the voting age–and twisting it into a big progressive knot to use as a political tool against the other side of the aisle. It’s despicable, and intellectually dishonest, but it’s nothing new and certainly not surprising.

The advocates in this case are blasting personal anecdotes from students via the mainstream media in an effort to win the culture battle before they ever see the inside of a courtroom:

Under the North Carolina law passed last year, the period for early voting was shortened and same-day registration was eliminated. Beginning in 2016, voters will need to show photo identification, and student ID cards, including those issued by state universities, will not be acceptable. In most instances, neither will an out-of-state driver’s license.

The law also eliminated a program in which teenagers filled out their voter-registration forms early and were automatically registered when they turned 18.

“For people like me, it makes what should be a simple process very difficult,” said Josue Berduo, 20, an economics major at North Carolina State University and a Democrat who is one of the plaintiffs.

Mr. Berduo, who is from Asheville, N.C., has a state identification card. But many students do not, he said, and no matter how much attention the law gets, some students will be unaware of the changes and will arrive at polling places carrying out-of-state licenses or student identification cards.

A tale of woe, indeed–but a tale that makes absolutely no sense in the context of the real world. Mr. Berduo claims that North Carolina’s voter ID law has a discriminatory impact on students in two ways: first, because the law allegedly makes obtaining an in-state ID more difficult, it will prevent students from obtaining valid ID; and second, because it may be impossible to get the word out to every student about what’s required at the polling place, the law will prevent students from successfully voting at all.


A simple Google Search of “Voter ID law North Carolina” revealed several handy articles detailing exactly what’s required to vote in North Carolina both now, and starting in 2016. Furthermore, this issue has been in the media since at least 2011.

The inconvenient truth is, any student who is interested in voting in the state where they’re going to school (as opposed to voting in their home state via absentee ballot) can spend five minutes on the internet and find out exactly what they have to do.

The Supreme Court has held that voter ID laws are generally valid, but progressive groups have spent the last few years picking away at the details of how new election laws are implemented, and what provisions exist to ensure all eligible voters are able to get their hands on a valid ID by Election Day. The lawyers in this case are upping the ante, and claiming that laws passed in North Carolina and other states were intentionally crafted to prevent students from voting:

Lawyers for the students believe they can make the case that the law is intentionally discriminatory. As proof of this intent, they note that the state prohibited the Division of Motor Vehicles from registering 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day this fall. All other* eligible voters could register there. In court documents filed in late June, the state said it had reversed that policy but did not say why.

The lawyers also point to the state’s decision to allow military and veteran identification cards, but not student IDs, as “strong evidence that the legislature wanted to make it difficult for young citizens to vote.”

This allegation, of course, completely ignores the fact that not all public or private universities have uniform systems for verifying the identities of their students.

In the run up to 2016, we can count on the left to mount more challenges to voter ID laws; and we can’t count on the lawyers to make the PR arguments for us. Conservatives need to reach outside of the bubble and make sure that voters in states with these laws understand that Republican lawmakers are working hard to make sure that everyone’s vote counts.

Failing to reach out now is tantamount to ceding ground to the leftist narrative.

*Note that 17 year olds are not technically eligible to vote. Details tend to be inconvenient.