According to a survey completed for the website www.GetvoterID.org, those attempting to obtain a copy of their birth certificate to prove name and birth date to then obtain a voter photo ID may encounter a confusing application process. Many counties are directing applicants to a mail-in form which incorrectly informs applicants they need a copy of their photo ID prior to requesting the copy of the birth certificate. Applicants attempting to obtain voter photo IDs are instructed they need their birth certificate to get a voter photo ID, which results in a frustrating cycle with the potential to deter those trying to obtain IDs to vote in 2012.
Confused yet? State law does NOT require applicants to present identification when the copies of birth certificates are mailed to the applicant. However, since the form wasn’t properly updated, the Election Division of the Government Accountability Board, the Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association and 48 Wisconsin counties all post a link to this outdated and confusing form.
The form and instructions can be accessed here on the website of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. If you open the FAQ question, “How do I request copies of birth certificates?” the site explicitly states you do not have to provide identification if the form is mailed to you.
However, the PDF of the application form available on the same page instructs applicants to mail a copy of their current valid photo ID, and the top of the form requests the type of current valid photo ID, its number and expiration date.
Richard Pinney of Getvoterid.org, who conducted the survey, discovered the error. “Wisconsin’s Voter ID law AB-7 was passed in May 2011. Six months into the law, the state and local governments do not seem to have noticed the roadblock they erected between voters and the ballot box. Birth certificate forms should be standardized and the instructions on applications rewritten immediately,” Pinney said.
The complete report can be accessed at getvoterid.org.