Wisconsin: Most Restrictive ID Law in the Country

Thomas Bates
May 27, 2011

Starting today, [May 25, 2011] Wisconsin will have
the most restrictive photo ID requirement in the country.

Governor Scott Walker is signing the bill into
law on Wednesday. So what does it mean for you, Wisconsin voter?

You will be asked to show a photo ID during this summer’s recall
elections, but you will not be required to have one in order to
vote in those elections. (Just a test run, apparently, to get you used to
unnecessary stuff.)

The law will go into full effect for
the 2012 elections when you will need to have a government-issued ID to cast
your ballot. If you have a student ID you may be able to use
that if your college changes your current ID to make them compliant with the
new law. The only acceptable student IDs must have a photo, your signature and
an expiration date. We are not aware of any colleges or universities in the
state with student IDs that meet those requirements. Yet. We are going to keep
working with students and school administrators to make it happen.

So now we turn our focus to getting
people without state-issued photo IDs the ID you need. This is a significant
challenge. People without state-issued photo ID who need to get one include:

  • 78 percent of African American
    males age 18-24 and 66 percent of African American women age 18-24
  • 23 percent of all Wisconsinites
    over the age of 65
  • 17 percent of white men and
  • 55 percent of all African American
    males and 49 percent of African American women
  • 46 percent of Hispanic men and
    59 percent of Hispanic women

[Source: Driver License Status of
the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin, 6/05]

Important note:
The law requires that the state provide you with a free ID.

Of course, there is nothing free
about taking off work, getting to the DMV and making sure you have all of the
supporting documents needed to get an ID. We are going to help you through it.

If you do not have an ID or want to
help people who don’t have an ID get one, please sign up here.
Give us as much information as you can so we can work with you and our allies
on the ground to help you comply with this new law and have your vote counted.

This was originally published on Rock the Vote's blog on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.  It is reprinted here with permission.