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What Students Need to Know to Vote in Wisconsin

Aug. 14, 2017
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It sounds insane but it is true: almost 10 percent of Wisconsin's registered voters cannot exercise their right to vote, for lack of a valid ID. For those 10 percent of disenfranchised citizens, it is necessary to start getting ready to vote as soon as possible. With Wisconsin's Spring Primary quickly coming up on February 20, 2018, the next opportunity to cast a ballot is not too far off.

Official photo identification is required to vote in Wisconsin since the passing of a strict photo ID law by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature in 2011. Although U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down the law in 2014, because 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin lacked proper identification needed for voting, it was reinstated in 2015. 

"It is likely that a substantial number of the 300,000 plus voters who lack a qualifying ID will be deterred from voting," Adelman wrote to justify the decision to strike down the law. This was a prophecy that proved itself true during the 2016 presidential election, when Donald Trump's victory (by less than 30,000 votes) could have been overturned, had the strict ID law not been in effect.


How to Vote in Wisconsin 

Any registered voter can use a Wisconsin driver license, state-issued ID card, passport, veterans or military ID card, tribal ID card or certificate of naturalization to vote. Any registered voter can obtain a free state-ID card by bringing a certified birth certificate, a Social Security card and a utility bill or cell phone bill to a DMV office.

Student IDs are a bit trickier: "The standard student ID at only three of the University of Wisconsin's 13 four-year schools and at seven of the state's 23 private colleges can be used as a voter photo ID," the nonprofit Common Cause in Wisconsin writes in an article urging Wisconsin students to register to vote. In the same article, they give students access to resources to check if their school ID is an acceptable form of ID for voting.

University of Wisconsin 4-Year Schools

University of Wisconsin 2-Year Schools

Wisconsin Private Universities & Colleges

Wisconsin Technical Colleges

Once you got your hands on an officially recognized ID, make sure you are registered to vote at the right place, through MyVote.wi.gov or by bringing a proof of residence document on Election Day.

Finally, uphold our democracy by showing up on Election Day and casting a ballot‒and do not forget your photo ID!

For more information about Wisconsin's Voter Photo ID law, visit www.bringitwisconsin.com or www.commoncausewisconsin.org


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