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As Voting Begins, A Look Back At The Fight Over Wisconsin's Voter ID Law
09/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2016 - 05:00

This November, something will happen that Wisconsin politicians and advocates have been fighting over for more than a decade: the state will host its first major election with a voter ID requirement in place. ...

While this won’t be the first test of the state's new voter ID law, turnout in other elections typically pales in comparison to what Wisconsin sees in presidential races.  In 2012, for example, roughly 70 percent of eligible Wisconsin voters cast ballots in the race for president, which was among the highest turnout in the country.  As many as a million voters could encounter Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement for the first time. ...

[T]wo of the lawsuits that shaped the law — Frank and the One Wisconsin Institute case — are still alive, and still evolving.

Voting Rights: Will Court Protections Deliver?
09/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Monday, September 26, 2016 - 00:00

In voting-rights litigation, the forces that want to restrict voting keep fighting back. For instance, the decision in Wisconsin allowing any citizen who can’t obtain ID with “reasonable effort” to vote after submitting an affidavit won’t be in place for this election. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stayed it, accepting instead another district court’s modifications to the DMV’s “ID Petition Process” (IDPP), the state’s last-ditch attempt to save the law by providing individuals with quick identification. Noting that the current “IDPP is pretty much a disaster,” that it disenfranchised more than 100 people for the April primary, that the DMV had discretion not to issue ID, and that the law disparately impacted voters of color, the district court had ordered modifications for the upcoming election.

But the appellate court relied on the state’s assurance that it would “automatically” mail a free photo ID to eligible persons initiating the IDPP process at a DMV office without requiring them to provide “a birth certificate, proof of citizenship, and the like.” The process encapsulates the absurdity of the state’s work-around, demonstrating that Wisconsin’s aim is not to protect against fraud by verifying an individual’s identity but to impose a test the voter must pass to cast a ballot. If one doesn’t have to submit information confirming citizenship, what aside from erecting a hurdle is the point? Additionally, even if the ID itself is free of charge, the means to obtain one is not: Individuals with very limited incomes likely don’t have the means to reach the DMV in the first place.

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

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