Local clerks and state elections officials are putting their absentee ballot mailings on hold as they hustle to reinstate Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement for voters in the wake of Friday’s federal appeals court decision. University of Wisconsin-Madison officials are also analyzing the decision and considering whether to begin issuing ID cards that could be used for voting. While some student IDs can be used for voting, the ones issued at UW-Madison and some other schools cannot. The Milwaukee Elections Commission had been scheduled to start mailing absentee ballots to voters Monday, but instead suspended that work until Wednesday at least, director Neil Albrecht said. The Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, directed clerks around Wisconsin to also hold off on mailing absentee ballots. The deadline in state law to mail the ballots to those who have already requested them is Thursday. So far 8,000 people in Milwaukee alone have asked for them. Albrecht said that like other local elections officials, he is waiting on the accountability board to provide clear guidance about what clerks need to do to make sure their voters’ ballots aren’t invalidated. “That’s the worst thing that any of us would want to see,” he said.
Meanwhile, an official with the state Division of Motor Vehicles said customers at service centers had been asking Monday whether they needed IDs separate from their driver’s licenses to vote — something that isn’t required.
A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated Wisconsin’s voter ID law Friday, acting less than two months before the Nov. 4 election between Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke.
The unanimous court ruling clears the way for the state to implement the law this fall, though it does not stop the ongoing appeal over whether the measure is constitutional. The voter ID requirement will not be in effect for special elections between now and Nov. 4, the accountability board said.