What to Do about Voter ID

Voting in Wisconsin has just become more complicated for everyone and may be quite daunting for some otherwise eligible voters.

Our job now is to mobilize as many people as we can

  • to find registered voters who lack an acceptable photo ID and help them acquire one;
  • to register new voters and help them with obtaining the documents they will need.

Here's what you can do:

Sign up as a volunteer for voter registration. In the comments section, tell us how you would like Grassroots North Shore to organize and support voter registration efforts.

Beginning with an election occurring after April 7, 2015, every Wisconsin voter will be required to show "an acceptable photo ID" at the polling place.  The rules for "acceptable" IDs can be somewhat complicated but here's what the Government Accountability Board specifies:

  • A Wisconsin DOT-issued driver license, even if driving privileges are revoked or suspended
  • A Wisconsin DOT-issued identification card
  • A Military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service
  • A U.S. passport
    The four forms of ID listed above must have an expiration date after November 7, 2014. They do not have to have the current address of the voter on them.
  • A certificate of naturalization that was issued not earlier than two years before the date of an election at which it is presented
  • An unexpired driving receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT
  • An unexpired identification card receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT
  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin
  • An unexpired identification card issued by a Wisconsin-accredited university or college that contains the following:
    • Date of issuance
    • Signature of student
    • Expiration date not later than two years after date of issuance
      Student must also provide proof of enrollment with ID
Wisconsin law requires the Department of Transportation to provide free ID cards to any individual who will be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election and who requests a free ID for the purpose of voting.

Due to the need to provide a birth certificate and other documents to receive a DOT-issued ID, individuals should start the process of obtaining a statutory identification well in advance of an election at which they wish to vote. 

The Department of Transportation's website specifies what it takes to get a Wisconsin ID from the Department of Transportation. And thanks to an "administrative tweak" the Wisconsin Supreme Court provided when it ruled on the Voter ID law, DMV offices are supposed to be able to locate verifying documents such as birth certificates for applicants at no cost. But it may take some time for the verification process. That's why it's vital that we begin NOW to work with citizens to ensure that everyone eligible to vote will be able to vote in the next election.

Complicating matters further, DMV offices have limited hours. In Milwaukee, DMV service centers are generally open from 8:30-4:45 on weekdays. The Milwaukee-Southwest service Center, at 5500 W. Grange Avenue in Greendale, has Saturday morning hours from 8:30am - noon. In Ozaukee County, the Saukville service center is closed on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it is open from 8:45am - 4:pm; on Wednesdays, it is open from 12:30pm - 6:00pm.

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