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UW-Madison administration supports separate IDs for school, voting

UW-Madison administration supports separate IDs for school, voting

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UW-Madison students cannot use their Wiscard when voting. 

UW-Madison administration recently met with Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell to clarify the current voter ID process for students.

The university has offered a separate, free voter ID card for UW-Madison students since 2012, Executive Director of University Communications at UW-Madison John Lucas said in a Sunday email. This was approved by the Government Accountability Board, a non-partisan six-member committee that enforces Wisconsin law pertaining to campaign finance, elections, ethics and lobbying.

Currently UW-Madison students cannot use their Wiscards to be voter ID compliant, which Lucas said would bring “multiple concerns” to both students and the university if it were permissible.

Due to the Wiscard’s multifunctional use for access into residence halls and other secured areas on campus, Lucas said adding a signature to make it voter ID compatible would increase privacy and security risks to students.

Voter IDs currently must be updated every two years, compared to a regular Wiscard’s expiration date of five years. Lucas said replacing Wiscards every two years would cost $2 million across five years.

“These are simple fixes that can be added to current Wiscards with two stickers, one for the expiration date and one for a student to sign their name,” the UW-Madison College Democrats and College Republicans said in a joint statement Sunday. “This offers a cheaper alternative to replacing all Wiscards.”

Associated Students of Madison Legislative Affairs Chair Carmen Gosey said it would be much easier for students to have a combined student and voter ID, and also encourage them to vote.

“A lot of students really don’t know that they can go to the Wiscard office and get an additional ID to vote,” Gosey said. “Moving forward I think this university should emphasize making it easier for students to vote because we already have a low voting turnout.”


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