The state’s low-profile effort to educate voters about Wisconsin’s new voter ID requirement has critics fearing some voters will be caught off-guard when they head to the polls. The voter ID requirement takes effect this year, starting with the spring primary election on Feb. 16 and followed by the spring election and presidential primary on April 5. The voter ID law was enacted in 2011 and briefly took effect for the 2012 spring primary election until court challenges halted its implementation. Wisconsin’s voter ID requirement is among the most restrictive of any state. Voters must come to the polls with one of a list of approved photo IDs that include their signature, such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, U.S. passport or U.S. military ID. Some student and tribal IDs qualify if they’re not expired. Student IDs also must be accompanied by a separate document that proves enrollment, such as a tuition statement.
The state elections board has created a website, bringit.wisconsin.gov, to inform the public about voter ID. It also has crafted public service announcements that TV and radio stations may run, and has a staffer conducting voter ID presentations to advocacy groups that work with voters.
But the state elections board, the Government Accountability Board, has no funds available for advertising about the new requirement, according to its spokesman, Reid Magney.