2011 Wisconsin Act 23

The 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 established a requirement for nearly all voters to present approved photo identification to cast a ballot. It was one of many new voter ID laws in the United States. Act 23 was developed by Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Republican controlled Wisconsin Legislature during a walkout by Democratic lawmakers as part of the 2011 Wisconsin protests.

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. . . 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 . . .

Section 1 of Act 23 specifies that only the following forms of photo identification are acceptable:[1]

  • A Wisconsin driver’s license
  • An nondriver identification card issued by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
  • Photo identification issued by the United States military
  • A United States passport or passport card
  • A United States naturalization certificate, issued not more than two years prior to the election
  • An unexpired receipt for a Wisconsin driver’s license or nondriver identification card (this is given at the Department of Motor Vehicles, as Wisconsin’s licenses and identification cards are printed and mailed from an outstate provider in California)[2]
  • A tribal identification card issued by a recognized Wisconsin Native American tribe
  • An unexpired identification card issued by an accredited Wisconsin college or university with a date of issuance, a date of expiration not later than two years after the date of issuance, the voter’s signature, and further provided that the student also present proof of enrollment in said college or university

In July 2011, the Associated Press reported that the Scott Walker administration was planning to close some DMV locations that could issue identification under the voter ID law and increase the hours that other DMVs were available. The changes were made to comply with a requirement that every county have a DMV location open at least 20 hours per week. A Democratic legislator said that the closures would occur in primarily Democratic areas, while the expansions would occur in primarily Republican areas.[3] Two weeks later, the plan was replaced with a plan to maintain all existing DMV offices and create four new ones.[4]

In July 2011, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) sent an internal memo instructing employees that an applicant for an ID card must pay the $28 fee unless the applicant requests that the ID be issued for free.[5] In September 2011, the DMV began posting signs instructing applicants seeking free “ID cards used for voting” to check the appropriate box on the application form.[6]

As initially implemented, an applicant for an identification card was required to present a birth certificate. The Division of Motor Vehicles maintains form MV3002, which allows identification cards to be issued without a birth certificate. The form is not mentioned in publicly available materials published by the DMV, and a high-ranking DMV official was unfamiliar with the form.[7] On September 2014, a procedure was implemented where applicants could supply birth information that would be verified with the State Vital Records Office for free.[8][9]

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. . . 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 . . .