The Government Accountability Board, which runs state elections, unanimously adopted a policy Monday that said schools could put stickers on existing IDs to include the information needed to make the IDs compliant with the voter ID law. That could save public and private schools money by not having to completely overhaul their IDs.
However, the board discussion highlighted the difficulties students may find in using their student IDs to vote – sticker or not. For one thing, voters who present a proper student ID would still have to show proof they were currently enrolled at the school. Those using other types of IDs, such as Wisconsin driver’s licenses, would not have to prove they were enrolled at the school.
A new law that goes into effect next year will require voters to show photo IDs at the polls and allow only very limited types of student IDs from Wisconsin institutions. Few if any of those schools currently issue IDs that comply with the law, which says the IDs must expire within two years of being issued, include the expiration date and include a signature. The sticker could help meet those requirements. Nevertheless, only IDs from certain types of institutions would be accepted. IDs issued by technical colleges, for example, are not valid for voting.
Board members said that policy didn’t make sense because technical schools and University of Wisconsin two-year colleges are so similar. But they said they could not do anything about it because lawmakers had rejected an amendment to the law that would have allowed IDs issued by technical colleges.
The photo ID law goes into effect Jan. 1, meaning people must have a valid ID to vote starting with the Feb. 21 spring primary.
Lori Berquam, dean of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said her school is considering using stickers as one means of making student IDs compatible with the new law in time for the first set of elections. UW-Madison officials are considering a range of options and have not yet settled on what they will do.
“We want to do it holistically,” she said. “We want to be really thoughtful.” UW-Madison IDs do not include signatures or have expiration dates, as required under the voter ID law.
Also Monday, in anticipation of a large-scale effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the board adopted a policy 5-1 to allow a recall form to be circulated online that a voter could print out, sign and send to a recall group. Those signatures would be counted along with ones that were gathered traditionally, by clipboard-carrying volunteers who stop voters on the street.
Most board members said the policy was effectively the same as one that had been in effect earlier this year. But the dissenter, board member Timothy Vocke, said he was concerned the approach would lead to more recalls.