League of Women Voters® of Dane County

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Moving DMV Will Make It Harder to Vote

Moving DMV will make it harder to vote

The following letter to the editor was published in the Wisconsin State Journal on January 9, 2018.

In Wednesday's article "New DMV office set to open on Far West Side," the state Department of Transportation touted the advantages of the Excelsior Drive location and its ability to "better serve" the greater Madison area.

The League of Women Voters of Dane County is alarmed by this move. Unlike the Sheboygan Avenue and Odana Road locations it replaces, Excelsior Drive is poorly served by public transit. Transit-dependent citizens must visit the Division of Motor Vehicles to obtain a Wisconsin ID card for voting.

Who are our most transit-dependent? Students, the elderly and disabled, racial minorities and economically challenged citizens.

A study from the UW–Madison Center for Elections Research showed that about 17,000 registered voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties were deterred from voting in the November 2016 election because they either did not have a valid ID, or believed that they did not have one -- even if they did. Low-income and African-American voters were disproportionately affected. Making the DMV harder to get to will only exacerbate this situation.

Wisconsin residents who need help getting an ID for voting can call the Dane County Voter ID Coalition’s hotline at 608-285-2141.

Brook Soltvedt, president, League of Women Voters of Dane County

Photo credit: Amber Arnold, Wisconsin State Journal