Tippecanoe County Clerk raises Purdue student voter issue

The Tippecanoe County Board of Elections is reconsidering the way poll workers accept Purdue student IDs after Clerk Julie Roush raised a question Friday.

Posted: May 20, 2019 6:36 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush said she got unexpected push back for bringing up a voting issue last week.

"If what we are doing is not lawful then we need to make sure that what we do is," said Roush. 

Roush said the Indiana Election Commission told her the way Tippecanoe County is currently handling Purdue Student ID voting does not follow state law.

"On the Purdue ID, it has to have an expiration date and it has to have a photo ID," said Roush. 

Most Purdue Student IDs do have a photo but they don't have an expiration date, unless you request it.

"All the student needs to do is have the expiration date put on their ID," said Board of Elections President Randy Vonderheide. "The issue in our mind is, they may not know that."

Roush was hoping to bring this issue to their attention.

"But we also want to ask Purdue to consider to put the expiration date on there so it's easier for a student," said Roush. 

Vonderheide is hopeful that will happen.

"They've been cooperative in the past so I think this is one of those things that when we get together, this will get resolved sometime this summer," said Vonderheide. 

Purdue said in a statement, 

“In past elections, Tippecanoe County has allowed Purdue students to vote at on-campus polling sites using their university-issued ID cards as identification for voting purposes, as long as their name appeared as active in the online student directory. We saw the reports over the weekend that this arrangement may no longer be sufficient. We look forward to speaking with state and county officials to learn more and how we can be a partner in facilitating voting.”

Roush said some people thought she was trying to eliminate the acceptance of Purdue Student IDs to suppress college voters but she says that wasn't her intention.

"We're not stating that they cannot use their student ID," said Roush. "All we are doing is looking into the matter and talking with the state and we hope that it will all be clarified by the next voting in November."

"People always yell about disenfranchisement and voter suppression," said Vonderheide. "But particularly, and I can only speak for Tippecanoe County, this has been a very voter friendly county."

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