People opposed to Wisconsin’s voter identification law are concerned about an internal memo circulated to Department of Motor Vehicles employees in July. WisDot Executive Assistant Steve Krieser said in an interview that the memo instructed customer service representatives to comply with state law and only issue a photo identification card for free if it was specifically asked for by the customer.
Kreiser said the law states, “we have to charge people the regular $28 rate (for photo identification) unless customers come in and request it, and certify that they need it for the purpose of voting.”
Kreiser said customers have been purchasing photo identification long before the new law went into effect. He said those looking for the cards for any other reason besides voting need to pay the fee. He also said as long as a customer actively seeks a free photo ID, workers at the DMV will help them.
“If an individual customer approaches a DMV employee and says, ‘I’m here for my free ID for voting, my free voter ID,’ or anything like, that sort of signals to the employee that what they are looking for is that free ID product. The customer service worker is going to work with that person to make sure they get that product for free,” said Krieser.
People opposed to the new voting law said this confusion confirmed their fears.
“I think considering that there were more than 4,000 people who came and got this ID since July 1st, and got this ID specifically for voting and marked that box (on the ID application form), you got to know that everyone doesn’t have an ID, and people who are just going to use it for voting shouldn’t have to jump through another hoop to get it,” said Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson.
Wisconsin Representative Jeff Stone, who wrote the bill which became law this year, said this is “much ado about nothing.”
Stone said not everyone coming in to get an ID should not automatically get it for free because people are getting them for different reasons, like cashing a pay check. He said only those who express that they want it for voting purposes should be getting it for free. He said the state will continue to educate residents.