Voter restriction efforts continue

A bill in the North Carolina Senate would discourage college students from voting.

by Daily Editorial Board

Though the next elections are several months away, efforts to restrict voting rights are already underway.

Early last month, Republicans in the North Carolina state Senate introduced SB 667, or the “Equalize Voter Rights” bill. Despite whatever false perception the title aims to give, the bill is meant to keep college students, a typically Democratic-leaning demographic, from voting in elections.

If passed, SB 667 would bar parents from claiming their children as dependents if they register to vote somewhere besides the parents’ address. According to the Huffington Post, parents who could no longer claim their children as dependent would be hit with a tax increase between $2,000 and $2,500.

The apparent rationale behind this legislation is that one cannot be considered dependent if they live outside of their parent’s home. As most college students know, this is naive and wishful thinking. Many students who attend college elsewhere in the state or country continue to rely on their parents to help pay for expenses such as books and rent in addition to school tuition.

Furthermore, it’s peculiar that this law is only enforced if a student chooses to register at their address while at college. The authors of this bill evidently have no problem with parents claiming children as dependents who live elsewhere, just as long as they don’t register to vote while they’re away.

The real intent of this bill is obvious. The state’s Republicans feel threatened by the student vote and are trying to stifle it. Similar efforts to restrict access to the polls have been taken up in the state — including shortening the early voting days and introducing a new voter ID law.

These laws restricting voter rights and access to the polls should be rejected in North Carolina and similar forms elsewhere in the country.