Tiger Cards registered online in the fall 2020 semester are not a valid form of state-issued IDs and cannot be used to vote in the presidential election. This could impact a significant number of LSU freshmen, many of whom may be unaware of the situation.
All state-issued IDs have an electronic signature which makes them eligible to use when voting. A bill passed in 2016 required that student identification cards at Louisiana universities meet “certain requirements” which included the electronic signature. This bill allowed for students to use their Tiger Cards to vote and went into effect in January 2019.
Because registration was online for the fall semester, this option was not available.
Geaux Vote, a student-led non-profit organization, worked with Auxiliary Services to ensure that if students need to use their cards for voting, they can have it replaced free of charge by visiting the Tiger Card office. A nonrefundable fee of $20 is charged to replace lost or stolen Tiger Cards.
LSU sent out a broadcast message to all students explaining voting practices for Louisiana residents and out-of-state residents.
“On election day, you’ll need an official ID with you that contains your photo and signature, such as your Louisiana driver’s license or state ID, an official U.S. military ID card or your LSU Tiger Card if it has your legal signature on it. If it doesn’t, visit the Tiger Card office in the LSU Union before election day to get a replacement card, free of charge, with your signature on it,” the email read.
Assistant Vice President of Auxiliary Services Margot Carroll said that out of the 6,814 preprinted Tiger Cards distributed by LSU, fewer than five students have come in to replace their card.
“Students can definitely use their Tiger Cards to vote, they just need to come in to the Tiger Card Office to obtain a free replacement card if they currently have one without a signature,” Carroll said.
Mass communication junior Mia LeJeune is the president of Geaux Vote and said that until recently, the organization was not aware of the Tiger Card issue. The Tiger Card voting ability is still advertised on LSU and government websites, according to LeJeune. She said the biggest problem right now is raising awareness among students about the issue.
“I don’t think students who need this know there’s a problem. I get about 15 emails from LSU a day; most of them are going to my spam folder,” LeJeune said. “The fact that we’re not seeing any kind of communication on social media or anything like that [is disappointing].”
With such a turbulent presidential race, it is easy to forget the importance of down-ballot candidates and measures, despite the lasting impac…
LeJeune said this is a COVID-19 oversight from an administration standpoint and should be rectified by the University as soon as possible.
“I do think that administration and universities should take more responsibility for these kinds of mistakes that end up suppressing youth votes,” LeJeune said. “Geaux Vote would like to see more widespread administrative action to correct the issue.”
Geaux Vote is asking the University to guarantee the electronic signature option for next semester and to recall the IDs given out this year and replace them. The organization is concerned that the freshmen who received the cards this year will go on to be juniors and seniors and still not have a proper voting ID. LSU has not yet confirmed it will take these actions.
“My concern at the end of the day, every day, is students having every opportunity and resource available to them to vote,” Lejeune said. “I have always seen LSU as an ally in this effort and I want everyone to have that same experience.”