JoAnne Balthazor can’t remember ever not voting in an election — it’s that serious of a civic duty to her. That’s why Balthazor, 69, a retired postal clerk from Madison, was getting a state-issued photo identification card Friday at the Division of Motor Vehicles Center on the city’s Far East Side.
A new state law requires residents to show photo identification to vote. Balthazor does not have a driver’s license — a physical disability prevents her from driving — and so needed to find another way to prove her identity.
The law includes a clause that allows residents to get a state photo ID card for free if they need it to vote. The cost is $28 otherwise. Friday was the first day the cards were available for free. Balthazor, who waited an hour and 51 minutes to get to a window, was not pleased with the process or the law.
“This is what people are going to have to go through,” she said. “I think a lot of people are just going to say the heck with it and leave.”
Supporters say the law will reduce voter fraud and that it’s reasonable to expect the same level of scrutiny for voting as for cashing checks, for instance. At the bill’s signing May 25, Republican Gov. Scott Walker said the law “protects the integrity of every single vote.”
Opponents say voter fraud has not been a significant problem and that the added hurdles will disenfranchise people.
Although most of the bill took effect June 10, its fiscal component — the free ID part — didn’t kick in until the 2011-13 biennial budget took effect Friday.
Full Article: Need a free photo ID to vote? Be prepared to wait.