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Voting ID card now required for UWRF students to vote

October 3, 2014

Ben Plunkett, a student at UWRF, waiting for students to register for their voter IDs.
Ben Plunkett, a student at UWRF, waiting for students to register for their voter IDs. (Jack Haren/Student Voice)

With elections closing in, everyone has a lot weighing on their minds: who is running? Who should I vote for? What do I need to do in order to vote?

Wisconsin made big changes to the voter ID law, making them now the ninth state to require a photo ID. The voting ID card is an identification card that is used for voting in Wisconsin.

Last year students were able to use their student IDs as identification to vote. Under the new law, however, students are no longer allowed to use their student IDs as valid identification to vote.

“The number one difference is that the ID can only last for two years. We do not have an expiration date on our current official university ID,” said DoTS IT Manager Jason Winget.

The Department of Technology Services (DoTS) is making valid IDs for students to use come the Nov. 4 elections, and they are free to students.

“For some students, they may keep their ID for however many years they are here, which is hopefully longer than two years,” Winget said. “So if we would’ve done that then students would have replaced their official ID every two years. So, this ID is a much lower cost. It is a less durable card, with less costly materials so that we’re able to produce it on an every two year basis instead.”

They started making cards on Monday, Sept, 29. Students can come any time between 7:30 am and 4:30 p.m. to pick one up.

Students who are Wisconsin residents will luckily not need to obtain a new ID card. Those students will be able to use their Wisconsin state drivers license or other types of identification.

With the law change, the definition of a voter ID became more strict and the student ID no longer fits it.

“Some of the things it is missing is that it doesn’t have an expiration date, it doesn’t have a place to sign, and a few other requirements it doesn’t meet,” said Student Senate President Tony Sumnicht.

Once students have a valid ID of some kind, they need to decide where they are going to vote.

For students who live far away, they will likely want to vote on campus rather than driving all the way to their hometowns on a Tuesday afternoon.

“As a student, your right to vote where you live is protected by federal law. This came about because some states tried to say that students had different residency requirements than other voters and the federal court said no, if you meet the residency requirements for that state, whether or not you are a student in the university, you have the right to vote there. For students, this means that you can choose where to vote,” said student Benjamin Plunkett, who is working with voting registration. In order to prove that they are a student at the university, students will have to fill out a student enrollment verification sheet.

According to Registrar Dan Vande Yacht, students can log onto their eSIS account and print off an enrollment verification as evidence. The sheet will also show the student’s address.

“We know that it’s a piece for them proving their residency in the state or their residency to this location,” Vande Yacht said.

Students will also have to pay attention to where they are able to vote come Nov. 4. For on-campus students, there are two different locations to vote.

Students who live on the east side (Hathorn Hall and over) can vote at the University Center, while students that live on the west side of campus can vote at the River Falls High School. Anyone who lives off-campus must vote in the district they reside in.

For more information, students may visit the Voter ID page on the DoTS website.