A New Southern Strategy for Voter Engagement

Geographical Area

Southeastern United States

Problem

The idea of a “Southern Strategy” began with Reagan and Nixon, whose transformation of the South was dependent on voter suppression—the consequences of which we are dealing with today. Across the country, laws restricting the use of IDs to vote are growing increasingly pernicious, threatening the ability of voters everywhere to register to vote and vote. For students, this problem manifests in restricting the use of student ID as voter ID. The New Southern Strategy is comprised of Vote Everywhere institutions across the historical Southeast who have decided to raise awareness to the issues of voter access for students across the region, beginning with voter ID—holding stakeholders to account to make it easier for Southern students to vote and register to vote. The power of reclamation cannot be understated. The New Southern Strategy is centered on nonpartisan voter engagement with the sole purpose of increasing the number of student voters in the political process. We know the history of the Southern Strategy and the connotation it carries. We are changing that.

Solution

The focus of this project is largely around raising awareness with the hope of affecting policy change—in the case of student ID as voter ID, that would be specifically focused on expanding access in states that currently don’t allow it (Tennessee and South Carolina), preventing laws from being passed that may prohibit the use of student ID as voter ID (North Carolina), and showing what it looks like in states that do (every other state). The campaign is centered around the coalition of campuses working together on this issue by collaborating in events and sharing information about the problems their peer institutions and states face. Additionally, there is a leaderboard that rates the level of access students have based on their state and institution and provides a comparative analysis of the ID laws across the region and how they affect students. We will be sharing the stories of students across the region, as well as announcing the annual grades for each state, at @southernstudentsvote on Instagram. This is a student-led movement to improve voter accessibility in the South.

State Leaderboard

Scoring Detail

Alabama

Alabama receives a score of 100 because it allows student IDs to be used as voter ID.

Arkansas

Arkansas receives a score of 85 because the state recently passed an amendment that requires all voters to provide valid voter ID to cast a ballot. Although students are still able to use their student IDs as voter ID, the new amendment creates a potential threat because student voters may not be aware of the change in the law.

Florida

Florida receives a score of 85 because the state requires an additional proof of identification for student IDs that do not contain a signature.

Georgia

Georgia receives a score of 85 because the state only allows certain college and university student IDs to be used as voter ID.

Kentucky

Kentucky receives a score of 100 because it allows student IDs to be used as voter ID.

Louisiana

Louisiana receives a score of 68.333 because the state does not allow private college or university student IDs to be used a voter ID. In addition, Dillard University and Xavier University are not in close proximity to a DMV, therefore, creating an additional barrier for student voters.

Mississippi

Mississippi receives a score of 100 because it allows student IDs to be used as voter ID.

North Carolina

North Carolina receives a score of 85 because the state is currently trying to pass a constitutional amendment that would prevent North Carolina students from using their student IDs to vote. Click here to learn more about the proposed amendment.

South Carolina

South Carolina receives a score of 35 because the state does not allow student IDs to be used a voter ID. In addition, the University of South Carolina – Upstate is not in close proximity to a DMV, therefore, creating an additional barrier for student voters.

Tennessee

Tennessee receives a score of 35 because the state does not allow student IDs to be used as voter ID. In addition, Tennessee State University is not in close proximity to a DMV, therefore, creating an additional barrier for student voters.

Virginia

Virginia receives a score of 100 because it allows student IDs to be used as voter ID.

Donate

Sustain positive change

Act

Unleash the inner hero

Partner

Join our campus network