Do you have your voter ID all ready for the primary election on February 21, 2012? All the brouhaha about voter ID can be confusing. While it is true a ID card is free, it may cost you some time and money to get to the point of applying for the ID.
If you don’t have a photo ID for voting, the DMV can issue a photo ID free of charge if you will be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election and request an ID card for the purpose of voting. If you don’t have in your possession any of the ‘certified’ documents needed to prove you are who you say you are, you need to get them, soon.
Most of the certified documents you may or should have in your possession already. A birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate or divorce certificate, naturalization papers and a few others that are officially certified are what you need. Do you need to apply for one from out of county or state? You’ll need to get in contact with the County office where they originated from and purchase a certified copy of the documents. Once you have them, keep them in a safe place, as you’ll probably need them again if you move, get married or die, for example.
There are organizations popping up all over to help you through the task if needed. Don’t feel intimidated if you are having trouble getting the proper ‘certified’ documents, or getting to the DMV, remember, it is your right and responsibility to vote, don’t let it slip out of our hands.
Here is some information I got off the Wisconsin DMV online site at www.wisconsindmv.gov that may help you get an ID card.
When applying, it will be necessary to provide your Social Security number and one document from each category below.
- Proof of name and date of birth:
- Certified U.S. birth certificate (not a copy)
- Valid U.S. passport
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Tribal ID card
Proof of identity:
- Social Security card
- Certified copy of a marriage certificate or judgment of divorce
- A driver license or ID card form another state (this must be surrendered to get a Wisconsin driver license or ID card)
Proof of Wisconsin residency–
Documents listed below must include your name and current Wisconsin residence street address:
- Pay check or stub or earning statement with your name and Wisconsin address, and your employer’s name and address, issued within the last 90 days. Your employer’s telephone number may be required for verification.
- A bill for water, gas, electricity, landline telephone, cable or cell phone service issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
- An account statement from a Wisconsin bank/financial institution issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
- Certified school record or transcript that identifies you by name, shows your current address and is issued within the last 90 days for the most recent school period.
- Mortgage documents for a residential property located in Wisconsin.
- Community based/assisted living residential contracts.
- Your current valid homeowner, renter or motor vehicle insurance policy dated within one year of application.
- A letter from a homeless shelter.
Proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident, conditional resident or temporary visitor status:
- U.S. state or local government-issued certificate of birth (certified copy – birth registration and hospital certificates are not acceptable).
- Valid U.S. passport
- U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship
The Government Accountability Board notes that an unexpired Wisconsin driver license is the most common acceptable photo ID for voting. An expired Wisconsin driver license or ID is acceptable too as long as it expired within two years after the most recent general election. In other words, if a Wisconsin ID or driver license expired in December 2010, it can still be used for voting purposes in the November 2012 general election.
The most common documents are listed above. For a complete list of acceptable documents and more information on how to get a Wisconsin ID card, visit the Wisconsin DMV online at www.wisconsindmv.gov.
For more information on voting in Wisconsin, visit the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board online at www.gab.wi.gov.