The League of Women Voters of Dane County announces a project to assist eligible voters in obtaining the required ID to vote, and a fund-raising drive to assist area voters to obtain the documentation necessary to get a Department of Transportation (DOT) ID for voting purposes. Citizens seeking assistance can call our office and leave a message requesting help. Tax-deductible contributions to help fund this project may be mailed to LWVDC, 2712 Marshall Court, Suite 2, Madison, WI 53705, or make a contribution now through PayPal using the Donate button below.
Since its inception in February, 1920, the League of Women Voters has worked to safeguard the rights of voters. We are encouraging eligible voters in Wisconsin to check the expiration date on their WI driver License or DOT-issued identification card, and to talk to friends and neighbors who may have to get a photo ID in order to vote.
Although the Wisconsin DOT provides a free photo ID card to residents who request it for voting purposes, the documentation required to prove name, date of birth, citizenship, identity, and Wisconsin residence are not necessarily free. A certified birth certificate costs $9 to $30, depending on the state of birth, and may take weeks or months to obtain. Application requirements vary by state, but can be difficult. Thirty-five states request a copy of a government ID to send a birth certificate. Each state has different requirements for ID for people who do not have a government-issued photo ID. In addition, for anyone whose current name does not match their birth certificate, a marriage license or other document verifying the name change is also required. This has the effect of making ID requirements more challenging for women.
The Madison City Clerk’s office found that 10% of voters in the July 2011 special election did not have appropriate ID. This is consistent with the report of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School entitled Voting Law Changes in 2012, which estimates that 11% of Wisconsin voters lack acceptable photo ID. The Brennan Center report provides additional breakdown, noting that 23% of people over the age of 65 do not have photo ID acceptable for voting, and that the burdens of addressing voter ID requirements fall disproportionately on minority and low-income voters. There has been considerable confusion in Wisconsin about required documentation. People without computer access may not know how to get a birth certificate from a distant state. Transportation challenges and the cost of identity documents may make the process overwhelming.
If you need a birth certificate or marriage license you can learn where to apply at a federal website, Where to Write for Vital Records.
The City of Madison Clerk’s office has excellent materials detailing the requirements for voting. For residents of other municipalities, the general information is still accurate, but they would need to register in their own municipality.
As noted above, if you need financial or practical assistance to obtain a photo ID, call the League office at 608-232-9447.