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Voting Rights Wisconsin ID

Catelin Tindall holds her expired student ID from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design at Cannon Park in front of the building where she tried to vote during the November 2016 presidential election. 

A liberal advocacy group filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging some of the state’s voter ID requirements for college students.

The lawsuit, brought by Common Cause in Wisconsin in U.S. District Court against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, does not challenge the state’s entire voter ID law, but rather seeks to invalidate specific requirements the lawsuit argues are irrational, unnecessary and unconstitutional.

The lawsuit focuses on two main provisions affecting voters who opt to use a college-issued ID to vote: One requiring such an ID bear the student’s signature, and another mandating the ID bear an issuance and expiration date. The suit argues that since the two requirements are not justified, they violate the U.S. Constitution’s 1st and 14th amendments.

The lawsuit argues the signature requirement is unnecessary because the state’s voter ID law doesn’t require elections officials to verify a voter’s signature.

Further, the lawsuit argues several other IDs valid for voting, such as veterans health identification cards and some tribal ID cards, don’t contain signatures, making the requirement a college ID have one irrational.

The lawsuit also contends the issuance and expiration date requirement is unnecessary because voters using a college-issued ID are already required to submit proof of current enrollment as well as proof of residence.

Of the 35 states that have passed voter ID requirements, Wisconsin is the only one to require that college IDs suitable for voting have a two-year lifespan and the only one that requires students to show separate proof of current enrollment.

The suit was brought by Common Cause in Wisconsin and Benjamin Quintero, a 20-year-old sophomore at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who says he is barred from voting because his college-issued ID does not have an expiration date or signature.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission declined comment.

Wisconsin’s law requiring a photo ID to vote was enacted in 2011, though its implementation was delayed several years before being upheld in the courts. A federal court in 2016 suspended the state’s ban on expired college IDs, but did not decide whether expiration and issuance date requirements should be thrown out completely.

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