As the Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform passed the Voter ID bill on partisan lines, Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy criticized it for creating administrative hassle and deterring student voters. The latest draft of the Voter ID bill allows the use of a student ID from an accredited university or college to vote provided that it has a current address, date of birth and signature on it. Few student IDs meet these requirements.
“This is a demographic that has the lowest voter participation rate of all age groups,” Kennedy said in the letter. “In order to cultivate engaged, active citizens, we need to facilitate voting among our youth rather than imposing artificial barriers to participation.”
In his letter to the Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform, Kennedy said allowing student IDs would do nothing to help out-of-state students vote since university IDs do not meet the bill’s requirements. He also argued eliminating the use of certified lists of addresses for on-campus students would deter voters.
Kennedy also said the bill conflicts with the MOVE Act, which helps military personnel and citizens overseas vote. Since the bill would move the partisan primary to August, there is not enough time for the 45-day transit needed between the date absentee votes are filed by these groups and the date of the primary. “If this is not corrected, Wisconsin will undoubtedly face another lawsuit by the federal government to ensure compliance with the MOVE Act,” he said.
Kennedy called the identification requirements for people voting by absentee ballot “unnecessarily cumbersome” and recommended expanding the time frame for in-person absentee voting by two weeks.