Students impacted by changes in Wisconsin voter ID law

By Lili Gundersen

Lumen Reporter

Students who voted in the 2008 United States presidential election may notice some changes at the polls this year.

“I wouldn’t have been able to vote in Wisconsin,” Becca Dobrez, a speaker from Organizing for Ameri­ca, a community-organizing project, said.

Dobrez spoke on campus to the College Democrats on Tuesday, Feb. 7 about the changes that have oc­curred in Wisconsin’s voter identi­fication law.

Although Dobrez lived in Wisconsin during the 2008 presi­dential election, she had an Illinois driver’s license. Under the new leg­islation, an out-of-state license is not a valid form of identification, which is now necessary to register to vote in Wisconsin.

“Last January, the new voter ID law was introduced by Governor Scott Walker,” Dobrez said. “The law came into full effect this January 2012.”

“The first step in the voting pro­cess is to register. Every time you move or change your name you will have to register to vote again,” Do­brez said.

“The next step is to prove your identity on Election Day. You will also have to prove your Wisconsin residency,” Dobrez said.

“Acceptable proof of identifica­tion includes a Wisconsin driver’s license, a U.S. Military ID, a pass­port or a Wisconsin state ID, which can be obtained for free at the De­partment of Motor Vehicle,” Dobrez said.

A student ID from a Wisconsin college or university is an accept­able form of identification as long as it meets certain requirements.

“Viterbo student IDs will be usable as long as they are unexpired and you get a sticker,” Dobrez said.

“Students who would like to vote in Wisconsin and who do not have a Wisconsin driver’s license or Wisconsin state identification card should follow the procedures shown below,” Diane Brimmer, Viterbo’s vice president for student develop­ment, said in an e-mail to Lumen. “Viterbo students who are inter­ested in voting in Wisconsin who do not possess a Wisconsin driver’s license or state identification card may request a sticker to validate the Viterbo student identification card for use when voting in Wis­consin. Once the sticker is adhered to the Viterbo student identification card and signed, the Viterbo student identification card is suitable to use for voting and voter registration with accompanying proof of Viterbo enrollment,” Brimmer wrote.

The sticker will validate student IDs for two years. “Proof of Viterbo enrollment is avail­able to Viterbo students by accessing their Vit Net accounts and printing a copy of the student’s current class schedule,” Brimmer wrote.

Prior to the new law, “the Viterbo Registrar sent over a list to the La Crosse city clerk to prove students’ residency,” said Marlene Fisher, as­sociate professor of sociology, social work and criminal justice, and advi­sor to the College Democrats.

Fisher is organizing a campus wide voter registration drive, in which both the College Democrats and College Republicans will have tables set up on campus to register students to vote.

“Last year the College Democrats registered about 400 students,” Fish­er said. “That’s a lot. That’s like one-third of the student population on campus.”

Students interested in the campus wide voter registration drive should contact Marlene Fisher at mrfisher@viterbo.edu, Fisher said.

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