Can Idaho college students from out-of-state vote here? Yes, but beware of possible repercussions

Posted at 2:17 PM, Sep 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-29 16:24:39-04

IDAHO — This year in Idaho, young adults are proving their passion for issue-oriented advocacy at protests, marches, on social media, and beyond. But historically in Idaho elections, young voter turnout is low compared to other age groups.

But if you’re a college student from out of state, living in Idaho, and wondering whether you can register to vote here, the short answer is yes.

“At the end of the day, absolutely if they are -- if they meet the qualifications of a state, they have the right to vote for that, for a state especially in that federal election," said Chad Houck, Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State.

If you consider Idaho your primary home, and can prove that you’ve lived here for at least 30 days, you can use your student ID with that proof of residency.

“Do they live in a dorm? That’d be a student fee statement with that dorm address on it along with their student ID, and that would allow them to register, either at the County Clerk’s office before October 9, or on Election Day which is where we honestly see a lot of election day registration with students.”

Of course, you can only cast a ballot in one state, or else you’re facing felony charges. That’s why Houck says it’s important to be mindful.

“Where do they have their vehicle registered? What’s the address on their driver's license? These are all things that they can look at, and ask themselves, as to where they actually call home," said Houck.

Also, consider possible repercussions.

“If you’re a student from Alaska let’s say, and you receive some Alaska Permanent Fund payments, there’s the potential that registering to vote in Idaho, which establishes residency in Idaho, from an Alaska perspective, that could cause you to lose some of those payments," said Houck.

He said after studying pre-med in Idaho and registering to vote in Idaho, two Utah sisters recently lost their ability to have in-state tuition during their medical school education later in their home state of Utah -- so he recommends to be aware of possible situations like that, as well.

Out-of-state students can also register as an absentee voter for their home state by checking that state's voting website. For more information on voting in Idaho, head to IdahoVotes.Gov.