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Proposal would limit college students’ voting rights

State and local lawmakers in Tippecanoe County are fighting a bill that would limit college students’ voting rights. A proposal before the Indiana House would prohibit students who pay out-of-state tuition from casting a ballot.

West Lafayette Councilor Eddie VanBogaert testified against it before the Election Committee Wednesday.

Representative Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette) says there is bipartisan opposition to the proposal.

“I think it sends a negative message to the young people who want to live in our area and want to stay in our area. Many of whom go to graduate school, get married in our area, have children who go to our schools,” she says. “So, we really don’t want to see this bill go any further."

Representative Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) says she authored the bill as a way to reduce voter fraud.

Klinker says it’s not right to prohibit those students from voting in the state, even if they meet current residency requirements. She says more should be done to encourage young people to vote.

“And several of our Purdue students stay in the community, buy houses, start a business. They love West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County, and they spend money there,” Klinker says. “In many cases, those folks would not have been allowed to vote if this bill would have become law.”

Members of the House Elections Committee did not vote on the measure after hearing testimony.