More than 9,000 students at UW-Milwaukee could be ineligible to vote in future Wisconsin elections without substantive modifications to university ID cards. Based on previous studies, The UWM Post estimates that 9,179 students, approximately 30 percent of the campus, do not have valid, state-issued driver’s licenses, a prerequisite to voting in upcoming elections.
Black students ages 18 to 24 will be impacted most by the Voter ID Bill, on average being 27.5 percent less likely than white students to have a Wisconsin driver license, according to a 2005 study conducted by UWM’s Employment and Training Institute.
Hispanic students ages 18 to 24 will also be impacted considerably, with Hispanic women being 28 percent less likely than white women to have a driver license, and Hispanic men being 17 percent less likely than white men. Junior Julio Guerrero, chairman of the Latino Caucus of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the bill will have a negative impact for students and Latinos alike.
“…if you have lost an ID – if you have had an ID before but you have to get a new one – they will not give you the free Voter ID, they will have you pay the replacement fee,” Guerrero said. “So, in my opinion, it is like a poll-tax, and I think it affects our community negatively.”
Director of Enrollment Services Beth Weckmueller said that no student will be turned away at the polls because of the university, but acknowledged that the cost of updating IDs may be steep.
“We are looking at a number of options, and they all have costs associated with them, but we do not know those yet,” Weckmueller said.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs James Hill said that costs will hopefully be available next week.
“We have some people working behind the scene who will report next week, ‘This is how much this will cost, this is how much this will cost,’” Hill said.
The UWM Post compared findings from a 2005 report studying the number of driver’s license-carrying 18- to 24-year-olds in the Milwaukee area with UWM enrollment rates for 2010.
The 2005 study, the most recent published on the subject, was created in response to earlier Republican efforts to pass Voter ID legislation.
After accounting for race and gender, it was shown that approximately 9,179 students on campus, 33.6 percent, do not have Wisconsin driver’s licenses, a prerequisite to vote once the state’s Voter ID Bill takes effect.
The report acknowledges that a portion of the population without a driver’s license – valid or not – will have a state ID, but without an analysis by race and location, it was impossible to account for that segment of the population.
Full Article: Can students vote in the next election? | The UWM Post.