Wisconsin’s voter ID law aims to suppress certain people’s rights

John Everman, Staff Writer

Voter ID laws are now in effect across our state. This means that people in Wisconsin hoping to participate in this year’s presidential election will face a new obstacle at the polling stations.

All who hope to cast a ballot in a local or national election must bring a valid Wisconsin ID, military ID, or United States passport with them to the polls.

This may seem like a harmless addition to our voting process. After all, who doesn’t have a valid ID these days? Who doesn’t drive? Who doesn’t have the money or the time to travel to a DMV for an ID?

…As it turns out, many people could be negatively affected by this new requirement.

A single mother working or attending college has no time on their hands. An elderly citizen may not be able to make the trip to a DMV. A student can use an ID from another state for practically anything else in this state… except for voting.

Supporters of the law claim it is to prevent voter fraud at the polls – a problem rarely encountered. However, critics have called this move an act of voter suppression. They say it is an attempt by a largely Republican state government to discourage and even prevent those who often vote Democratic from being able to participate in elections.

Speaking with ThinkProgress.org, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi expressed concern for the new voter ID law.

Parisi stated, “This is just another [law] in a long line of Republican legislation that make it harder for students, the elderly, and people in poverty to vote.”

On Feb. 16, Voter ID was in effect for the first time since 2012. Although voter turnout was predictably low that day, multiple polling stations reported issues. One of which was a veteran turned away from voting while trying to use a military ID. This is particularly troubling because by all accounts, this type of ID should be acceptable.

While there are eight forms of acceptable ID, there simply shouldn’t be a requirement like this in place. This law is a roadblock in the way of citizens trying to exercise one of our most cherished and basic rights.

We often take for granted how lucky we are to have democracy in America. Many nations do not and their people are left to suffer in silence. Right now, our freedom and right to vote is being attacked. As such, our collective voice must be heard this election. Do not let this obstacle stand in your way of voting.

Please be sure to learn which ID’s are acceptable now in Wisconsin elections before our April 5 Presidential primaries and certainly before the Nov. 8 Presidential election. Information can be found at bringit.wi.gov.