Republicans cite the measures as protection against voter fraud, while Democrats and voting rights groups say the bills would disproportionately keep away young people and minorities, and say they are aimed at blocking ballot access for core Democratic voters.
In 2008, for example, Barack Obama relied on college students to bolster his base during the primaries. Under several proposals, an out-of-state student would no longer be able to use a school photo ID as proof of identity, but would have to make an effort to get state identification.
“These bills clearly put a burden on the elderly, lower income and students,” says Tova Wang, senior democracy fellow at www.demos.org, who specializes in election reform. “So now, voting will include standing in line with documents to get the right ID.”