Wisconsin’s voter ID law should be suspended for next month’s election in light of new audio recordings revealing state Division of Motor Vehicles workers giving inaccurate information about what’s required to vote, a liberal advocacy group argued in a motion filed Tuesday in federal court. The motion from One Wisconsin Institute argued that the state is “nowhere close” to being in compliance with a federal court order detailing how the law should be administered. It was filed just hours after the head of the state Department of Transportation tried to reassure lawmakers that front-line workers would receive additional training with the election just five weeks away. “Clearly, we take seriously some of the recent news reports about allegations we didn’t provide accurate information or provided wrong information,” DOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb said in a public hearing.
Wisconsin law requires voters to show photo identification at the polls and allows for state ID cards to be provided free of charge. In May, the transportation department adopted regulations allowing people who lack the supporting documents such as birth certificates needed to obtain an ID to get a receipt they can use for voting. The rules dictate that the receipts must be mailed within six days of applying.
The recorded statements from DMV workers, provided to The Associated Press and quoted in the legal filing, seem to conflict with those rules. On one recording from Sept. 28, a DMV worker in Hudson tells a person asking for an ID that she’s not guaranteed to get one.
A DMV worker in Rice Lake told a woman “it’s possible” she could get an ID in time for the election, but “there’s no guarantees.” DMV workers in Black River Falls and Wisconsin Rapids incorrectly say that no temporary voting credentials are available. And in Neillsville a DMV worker says it could take weeks to get an ID without a birth certificate. The recordings revealed that DMV workers in Adams, Chippewa Falls and Menomonie gave mostly correct information.