Wisconsin: voter ID bill in action

Spring Primary taking place in Wisconsin on February 21st is the first time to see new election law in action. According to the law that went into force as of January 1 2012 an acceptable form of photo identification must be presented upon casting an election ballot. Acceptable documents include Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued driver’s license (even if it’s revoked or suspended), Wisconsin DOT issued photo id card, US military id badge, US passport. It’s not too late for those who haven’t obtained the proper documentation as an id card and driver’s licenses receipt from DOT will be accepted. Those who are missing acceptable photo id card at the election station can still cast a provisional ballot but must come back with the right document to the polling place by 8PM of the voting day or to the city clerk’s office by 4PM on Friday following the election.
Spring Primary is a small event with turnout not exceeding 10% of eligible voters and therefore Government Accountability Board expects no issues. The new procedures were partially tested during 2011 summer and fall elections when voters were asked to produce photo identification but not required to do so. Ad campaign worth $436k was launched to educate state residents on the law. Even though the law is in force already the discussion on its purposefulness has not stopped, there are several suits filed in courts awaiting verdict. The suits are usually based on allegations that the legislation is unconstitutional as it may put effective voting restrictions on poor, elderly and minorities.

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