For Immediate Release November 1, 2011

Contact: Rebekah Sweeney (608) 266-3790

Jorgensen’s Journal: Know What’s Required Under New Voter ID Law
Earlier this year, as you’re no doubt aware, legislative Republicans and Governor Walker pushed through sweeping changes to our state’s election laws. While I stood in opposition to these measures out of concern they would disenfranchise many voters, the bills are now law. No matter your opinion of the law, it’s critically important you understand it. In the coming months, I’ll be writing a number of columns that explain what’s now required of Wisconsin voters. With this week’s edition of “Jorgensen’s Journal,” I’ll go over the basics. You’ve probably heard of the biggest change the law made: all Wisconsin voters must show a photographic identification card, or photo ID, to participate in elections in 2012. You can use a Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) driver’s license or DOT-issued identification card, a card issued by a U.S. uniformed service such as the Army or Navy, or a passport. These cards must be unexpired or, have only expired after the date of the most recent general election. You may also show a photo ID issued by a federally-recognized Wisconsin Indian tribe or an unexpired photo ID card issue by a Wisconsin-accredited university or college that shows the issuance date, student’s signature and an expiration date not later than two years after the issuance date. Note that the address on your photo ID doesn’t have to match the address listed on registration rolls. The new law also states Wisconsinites should have access to a free photo ID card for voting. However, in order to get this card, you must not have a valid driver’s license. For more information on how to get the free card, you can visit the DOT’s website: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/idcard.htm. If you plan to get this card, please start the process early, as you will have to find and provide your birth certificate or a valid passport, proof of your identity, proof of your residency, proof of your citizenship status and your social security number. If you need a copy of your birth certificate, call the Wisconsin Office of Vital Records at (608) 2661371; unfortunately, copies are not free. When you go to vote, remember that election workers must ask for – and see – your identification card, even if they know you. The changes don’t stop at photo ID. The new voting law requires Wisconsinites to have lived at their voting address for 28 consecutive days prior to the election. A voter can no longer use a witness to provide their proof of residence. Unless they are physically unable to do so, voters must now sign in to get a ballot. And, voting straight-party ticket is no longer an option.

For more on what to expect if you vote absentee, or on any of the issues I’ve touched on, you may want to visit the Government Accountability Board’s website: www.gab.wi.gov. And, keep an eye out for upcoming columns on the new voting law. I want you to have the information you need to stay active in our electoral process. Your voice matters! ###

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