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Student ID vote issue story

By Qixi Huang
On December 6, 2011

Many student IDs card are invalid to vote with the new Wisconsin voting law. Without the driving licenses and other formal identifications, students have many difficulties in voting. Universities officials decided to provide free and supplemental identification voting card to students.

            David Grioux, the spokesman of University of Wisconsin, says "The new IDs will be available to students at the Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Whitewater campuses starting Jan. 23, 2012. Other campuses are still determining how they will handle the issue." In addition to the new IDs, students still need to show the current enrollment.

            According to the Government Accountability Board, the photo ID laws accept an unexpired identification card issued by a Wisconsin-accredited university or college, including date of issuance, signature of student, expiration date, students' residential addresses, and the indication of U.S. citizenship.

            However, in many universities in Wisconsin, students cards do not have residential addresses and the proof of citizens. Lillian Hafermann, a local student of University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, says "We do not have residential addresses on our student cards. My student card only has my name, expired date and my photo. I don't think this card can be the proof of U.S. citizen."

            Lori Berquam, Dean of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says "UW-Madison IDs do not include signatures or have expiration dates, as required under the voter ID law." She is considering using stickers as one means of making student IDs compatible with the new law in time. Other than the IDs, students still need to show the proof of current enrollment.

            Both students IDs in Viterbo University and UW-L are not acceptable according to the new voter ID law. UW-L officials plan to keep existing student IDs and issue an extra voting card to students upon request. "We're going to provide these to students that need them and request them. Basically, the voting card cost $2 for each. Typically, we're not seeing this as a huge population of our students," says Larry Ringgenberg, the director of university centers in UW-L.

            These plans seem to make students IDs equitable, but universities are still waiting the official interpretation of this new voter ID law. Darrell Bazzell, the Vice Chancellor for Administration, announces, "University of Wisconsin-Madison students who do not have valid Wisconsin IDs will be issued a free supplemental identification card for voting purposes only." At the same time, many non-collegial officials declare to offer free voting IDs to make student vote more easily. 

            The new IDs will cost $100,000 over the next five years. Grioux adds, "It's an important victory for students, though without a disenfranchising voter ID law, such funds could be used for things like scholarships or campus activities."

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