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New voter ID required in upcoming elections

February 17, 2012

Students at UW-River Falls will be changing the way that they vote this year. Starting this year students will now be required to show a photo ID in order to receive a ballot and vote. The new voter ID law that was signed in by Gov. Scott Walker last spring will take effect beginning with the Feb.21 primary.

Acceptable forms of ID are a current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license, a state issued ID card, a military ID card issued by the U.S. armed services, or a U.S. passport.

Students will also be required to provide enrollment verification along with their ID. The enrollment verification serves as your proof of residence, and allows students to vote in that district. Students can obtain an enrollment verification document from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Registar’s Office.

“I think I would still vote,” said Arianna Schultz, 20, a student at the University. “If I have to show my ID it will not stop me from voting, I vote because feel it is my duty and I feel like I can educate myself as well.”

Colleges across the United States are going to be affected by this new law because it requires voter ID’s to have an expiration date of two years which causes most colleges to issue special cards for students do not have other forms of identification.

Students who live in Minnesota, but commute to the University may use a voter ID compliant student ID card along with an enrollment verification issued by their UW-institution as proof of ID. Voter ID cards can be obtained at the carding office located at 131 Hagestad Hall.

Voters must provide proof of residency if they are firsttime registrants in Wisconsin, and they are registering by mail, registering in the clerk’s office during the closed registration period less than 20 days before the election, or registering at the polls on Election Day.

Certain students this year will also find that they are not going to be able to go to the same place to vote as they did last year.

“The city had to redraw district lines,” said Bridget Hieb, a deputy clerk for the city of River Falls. “So four of the campus dorms will now have to vote at the high school instead of the University Center where students previously voted.” The dorms that are affected by this change are Johnson, May, Stratton and Prucha Hall.

“Our election in the February ballot is Alderperson District 4,” said Hieb. “I think that it is important for people to vote.”

According to a study done by The Marquette University Law School, 66 percent of 701 registered voters favor the law, and 32 percent oppose it. Those in favor of the law believe that it will help cut down on voter fraud, people opposing the bill say that it will cut down on voting from the poor and the elderly people especially the homeless. Wisconsin in one of 30 other states which requires people to show some form of photo ID before voting, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.