Starting in February, all Wisconsin voters are going to have to show photo ID to vote. For most voters, that means they have to show an unexpired Wisconsin state ID card or driver’s license. A few other kinds of photo identification cards, like some tribal, college and military IDs, unexpired U.S. passport, or a recent certificate of naturalization, will also be acceptable. Read more about what is in the law on the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board’s Voter Photo ID law webpage (Spanish, DMV).
But the ACLU of Wisconsin is hearing from otherwise eligible voters who are not included among those who have one of the qualifying IDs to vote. Will you or someone you know not be able to get a photo IDs to vote in 2012?
People who cannot get a photo ID to vote in Wisconsin under the new law may include people who:
- were born in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Puerto Rico, and do not have a certified copy of their birth certificate (For people born in Puerto Rico, the copy must be from October 2010 or later);
- were never issued a birth certificate (for example, because they were born at home in a state like Mississippi, Alabama or Tennessee), or for some reason other than lack of money they can’t get a birth certificate (for example, they don’t have the kind of ID they need to get a birth certificate from the state where they were born);
- are having trouble getting a qualifying photo ID because they have little or no income so they can’t afford the papers they need to get the ID such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or certificates of U.S. citizenship or naturalization;
- are having trouble getting a qualifying photo ID because they cannot obtain a Social Security Card due to lack of proof of identity—and in a Catch-22—have no other way to prove identity to the DMV;
- are having trouble getting a photo ID because they don’t have transportation to get to the DMV office, or they work during all the hours their local DMV office is open;
- do not have a regular home address or they do not have proof of their address in their name like a utility bill or paycheck. For example, they are homeless, they live in a shelter, they live in someone else’s house and don’t have bills in their name, or they move often and don’t have a regular address;
- are a person with a disability that will make it very hard for them to get to a DMV office to get their photo ID, it is hard for them to leave their home, or they are unable to sign their name sometimes or always;
- are a student at a Wisconsin technical college and they don’t have a Wisconsin driver’s license, state ID card, U.S. passport, or tribal or military ID;
- or are a student at any Wisconsin college or university, they have a driver’s license from another state (but don’t have a car or drive regularly in Wisconsin) and do not have a passport or tribal or military ID.
If you or if someone you know has a story to share about barriers to obtaining a photo ID to vote in Wisconsin, contact the ACLU of Wisconsin at (414) 272 4032, ext. 216 or email your story to inquiries@aclu wi.org.
Please remember that the details of the voter ID law, particularly for students, may still change between now and elections in 2012. The ACLU of Wisconsin Foundation and the Wisconsin Election Protection Coalition will provide more voting rights information in the future. But if you or someone you know falls into a category described above, we still want to hear your story.
Find more on voting rights in Wisconsin on the ACLU of Wisconsin’s Voting Rights webpage, including fliers to download and share with people in your community who may be disfranchised by the new photo ID requirement to vote.