By Karen Stokes
Starting with the 2016 spring primary on February 16, Wisconsin voters must show acceptable photo ID in order to vote.
Before 2003, not a single state required a person to present a photo ID in order to vote. Now as of February 2016, 33 states have enforced voter ID requirements.
The ‘Bring it to the Ballot’ campaign was launched statewide by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) to educate residents on the voter ID laws.
“The campaign’s message is that most people already have the ID they need to vote,” said Kevin Kennedy, chief election official on the G.A.B. website.
“If they don’t have one they can get a free ID for voting at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).”
The following are a list of acceptable photo IDs for voting:
• Wisconsin driver’s license
• Wisconsin photo ID card
• U.S. passport
• Photo ID from a federally recognized Native Indian tribe
• Naturalization certificate
• Student ID from Wisconsin college or university
• Receipt from DMV from applying for license
Some voters are not required to present an ID to vote:
• Permanent overseas and military voters
• Elderly or disabled who are considered indefinitely confined to home
• Voters in nursing homes or other care facilities who vote with special voting deputies
“Be prepared. Have your photo ID. If you need to register, have proof of residence,” said Neil V. Albrecht, executive director Milwaukee Election Commission. “Make sure you know your voting site and know something about the candidates.”
February 16 was the statewide non-partisan primary for public offices including: Wisconsin Supreme Court, County Executives and Supervisors, Mayor and Aldermen. The primary on February 16 was not the presidential primary.
On April 5, Wisconsin residents have an opportunity to vote for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees in the presidential primary and vote in the spring election.
Sharon Christine, 65, retired resident of Milwaukee said, “If we chose to sit back and not use our right to vote, it will drastically affect your quality of living. Milwaukee is already suffering because not enough people voted in the last election, so let’s take this opportunity and allow our voices to be heard or forever hold your peace. Voter IDs are free.”
“People fought long and hard and lost their lives for the right to vote and we should respect that, exercise our right to cast a ballot,” Albrecht said.