Getting ready to vote under the new law

Do you have a valid voter ID?


Voting in Wisconsin will require a little more advance planning. Starting with the Feb. 21 primaries, all voters will be required to show an acceptable form of identification at the polling place (See Valid IDs,”below.)

For UWM students: Voter ID cards

UWM received approval from Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board to issue separate student identification cards that can be used for voting. UWM is providing detailed information on steps UWM students need to take to register and vote in Wisconsin at www.voterid.uwm.edu.

While the majority of students already have one of the acceptable forms of identification required by the new law, UWM is providing  a free Student Voter ID card for those who do not. UWM students who are registered to vote in Wisconsin may meet the voter identification requirements under the new law by presenting their UWM Student Voter ID card and a printout from the university’s PAWS system verifying that they are currently enrolled.

The UWM Student Voter ID card is separate from the regular campus ID card, which does not meet the law’s definition of valid identification. And, the new Student Voter ID cards do not replace current student ID cards used for other purposes.

The Student Voter ID cards are available free from the Department of Enrollment Services Information Center (Mellencamp Hall, room 274). Call 414-229-3800 or go to www4.uwm.edu/des/Help/ for office hours.

The UWM Voter ID Enrollment Verification Letter is available on PAWS. If a student’s address is not current, s/he should go to the “Personal Information” section, update the address and save it, then click on the “Voter ID Enrollment Letter” link, also in the “Personal Information” section.

“Thus far, demand for the voter ID cards has been very light, with only a handful of students needing them,” says Beth Weckmueller, director of Enrollment Services. “Quite a few more students have inquired, but once staff spoke with them, they realized they already had another valid form of ID”.

“There has been more interest in the Voter ID Enrollment/Address verification link,” she adds, “with nearly 100 students having accessed that to date.”

For everyone: Registering to vote

People who haven’t previously voted in Wisconsin or who have moved since they last voted will need to register before voting. Here’s how:

  • Register by mail up to 20 days before the election. Go to the online Wisconsin Voter Registration application (gab.wi.gov/node/1921), fill it out and mail the form to your municipal clerk. If you are a first-time voter in Wisconsin, you will also need to send in proof of residence (see sidebar). For those  voting in the City of Milwaukee, the municipal clerk’s address is 200 E. Wells St., Room 501, Milwaukee, WI 53202. For other municipal clerks’ addresses go to: gab.wi.gov/sites/default/files/page/municipal_clerks_updated_10_19_11_pdf_17338.PDF.
  • Register in person at the municipal clerk’s office until the Friday before the election. If it is fewer than 20 days before the election, you will need to provide proof of residence.
  • Register on election day at the polls. You will need to show both an acceptable photo ID and proof of residence.

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Valid IDs
Valid photo identification for voting in Wisconsin under the new law includes:

  • A Wisconsin driver’s license.
  • Wisconsin state-issued identification card.
  • A U.S. passport.
  • Military identification from a U.S. military branch.
  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin.
  • A UWM Student Voter ID card along with an enrollment verification letter.

For a complete list and more details on acceptable photo identification, go to the Government Accountability Boardwebsite

Proof of residence
Proof of residence is required if:

  • You are registering to vote for the first time in Wisconsin and you are registering by mail.
  • You are registering in the clerk’s office fewer than 20 days before the election.
  • You are registering at the polls on election day.

Proof of residence documents must include your current address. The following are listed as acceptable on the GAB website:

  • A current and valid Wisconsin driver’s license with your current address, a Wisconsin identification card, or any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
  • A UWM Voter ID Enrollment Verification Letter with your current local mailing address.
  • An employer-issued ID card with your photo and current address.
  • A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year, showing your current address.
  • A recent (within 90 days of registration) gas, electric or telephone bill with your current address.
  • Bank statement with current address.
  • Paycheck with current address.
  • Residential lease (not valid if registering by mail).

Once you have registered and have your voter identification, you’re ready to vote. For a list of polling places in Wisconsin, go to: vpa.wi.gov.