Thursday, May 18, 2017

CC/WI Calls for Removal of Restrictions on College Student ID as Voter ID

For Release: Thursday - May 18, 2017

This past November, Wisconsin experienced its first presidential election in which voters had to present a photo ID at the polls – a requirement put into place to address the nonexistent problem of "voter fraud."

There is little doubt that Wisconsin’s extreme and restrictive voter photo ID law disenfranchised tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of eligible voters who did not have one of the few forms of ID acceptable for voting, such as a Wisconsin driver license or state ID card. Among those most negatively impacted by the requirement were seniors, the poor, citizens of color – and college students (primarily students from out of state).

A college student ID card is listed as an acceptable ID for voting; however, a student ID can only be used as a voter ID if it was issued by a Wisconsin-accredited institution and the ID includes a photo of the student; a signature; the date it was issued and the date it expires. Further, the student ID cannot expire more than two years after the date it was issued... but, the ID can be expired (thanks to a federal court ruling in late July 2016).

Unlike any other form of ID used for voting, a student ID requires additional documentation in order to be used as a voter ID: students must also bring (or show electronically) proof of current enrollment, such as a tuition statement.

Confused? Concerned? It gets worse...

The majority of student IDs issued by Wisconsin colleges and universities do not meet the criteria for use as a voter ID.

According to research conducted by CC/WI over the last year, the standard student ID at only three of the University of Wisconsin's 13 four-year schools, at none of the UW System's 13 two-year schools and at only seven of the state's 23 private colleges can be used as a voter photo ID.

Separate “Voter ID cards” are available upon request at the 23 UW System schools, and at nine of the sixteen private colleges, whose standard student IDs cannot be used as a voter ID – but students must take action in order to get one of those college-issued voter ID cards.

Notice a pattern here? There’s more...

When other IDs are presented as voter ID, poll workers are instructed to only look for a voter’s name, photo and the ID's expiration date (if one is required); conversely, when examining student IDs, poll workers must also check for the criteria listed above – including a signature. Note that some of the other acceptable IDs do not even include a signature (e.g., some Tribal ID cards) and those that have one, do not need the signature's appearance on the ID verified when voting.

Bottom line – as a result of Wisconsin's strict voter ID law – college students are treated differently, facing unnecessary barriers to voting. This deliberate disenfranchisement is wrong and must be addressed; we should be encouraging civic participation by young voters, not preventing it.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a federal court decision overturning North Carolina's restrictive voter ID law – sending a strong message nationwide that such voter suppression measures are unacceptable.

CC/WI calls on our State Legislature to address the obvious, excessive burden Wisconsin's voter photo ID law places on college and university students by removing the unnecessary restrictions placed on those who use a student ID as a voter ID.

Even college students in Alabama need only present a valid student ID to cast a ballot.

A voter photo ID is supposed to prove who you are. That's it.

Sandra Miller
Director of Information Services & Outreach

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703

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Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Days of "Action" on Fair Voter Maps and Ending Partisan Gerrymandering in Wisconsin!

For Release: Wednesday - May 3, 2017

Common Cause in Wisconsin (CC/WI) is joining many other organizations in Wisconsin in urging our members and supporters to take action the rest of this week – Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, May 3rd, 4th & 5th to elevate and advance fair voter maps and an end to partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin. We ask that you do as many of the actions listed below as you can and that you do them either all at once, in one day, or spread your activity out over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.

The sustained activity by thousands of Wisconsinites is making a big difference.

The visibility of the issue of redistricting reform is as high, or higher, as it has ever been – certainly since the late Summer of 2013 when more than 10 daily newspapers in Wisconsin simultaneously published editorials in support of the "Iowa Model" for Wisconsin as the process to adopt for redrawing state legislative and congressional district lines after every decennial census. Reformers and pro-reform state legislators continue to be united in support of the "Iowa Model" legislation, which this year has bipartisan support as Senate Bill 13 and Assembly Bill 44.

The Wisconsin court case, Whitford v. Gill – now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court – gives new and significant urgency to our efforts to adopt a new system for drawing voter maps, as a federal court panel ruled last November that the 2011 hyper-partisan Republican gerrymander of Wisconsin's state legislative districts is unconstitutional and new districts must be redrawn before November 1, 2017. This excellent New York Times article of April 21st provides great information and background about what is at stake.

Here is what everyone can do this week to advance fair voting maps and redistricting reform and oppose hyper-partisan gerrymandering of state legislative districts:
1. Contact both your State Senator and your State Representative and demand they support redistricting reform legislation (Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44), which would take the drawing of state legislative and congressional districts out of the hands of partisan legislators and entrust that task to the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. This is what they do in Iowa and it is respected and trusted by everyone. Reform organizations and pro-reform legislators are united in support of the “Iowa Model.”

2. Contact State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos in support of Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44 and demand that they schedule a public hearing and vote on the reform legislation.
(608) 266-5660

3. Contact both your State Senator and State Representative and Fitzgerald and Vos and demand that no additional taxpayer money be used to pay legal fees to defend the unconstitutional, rigged 2011 voter maps that Fitzgerald and Vos have authorized when the current lawsuit is appealed and considered by the Supreme Court of the United States.

4. Sign the online petition in support of redistricting reform legislation (Senate Bill 13/Assembly Bill 44). Urge others to sign it as well.

5. Be ready to vote! Make sure you have one of the required forms of photo ID in order to vote in Wisconsin and take responsibility for 10 friends/family members to ensure that they have what is required to vote as well.
You may have already taken one or more of the other actions listed above, but many legislators have short memories and need constant reminders about doing the right thing and what the citizens of Wisconsin demand and need, so don't be shy – contact them again!

Vos, Fitzgerald and all state legislators are supposed to serve the citizenry – not the inverse. Similarly, voters are supposed to choose their state legislators, not the other way around, which is now the situation in Wisconsin because of hyper-partisan redistricting.

Let CC/WI know what, if any, responses you receive from state legislators. We are making a list and keeping track.

Most importantly: Never give in and never surrender. We can and will prevail in this struggle for the very heart of democracy!


Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 W. Johnson St., Suite 212
Madison, WI  53703

Want Good Government?
Join Common Cause in Wisconsin!