Why doesn’t everyone have a Voter ID?

About 1 in 10 Americans lack a government-issued picture ID according to NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. And, there are many practical reasons why this is so.

Some individuals may have recently moved in from out-of-state and have not yet transferred their driver’s license to Wisconsin. Most out-of-state college students find it impractical to transfer their driver’s license to Wisconsin (student ID’s alone are not valid for voting in Wisconsin without providing additional proof of enrollment).

Not everyone drives. In cities, many individuals do not own a car, instead they rely on bus, taxi, bicycle, or their feet for transportation. Some individuals do not drive because of age, income, or ability. and do not possess a driver’s license.

For individuals wishing to get a non-driving photo ID, accessibility to DMV offices creates a unique barrier. Many DMV offices are open only during normal business hours, not during evenings or weekends when many working people are able to visit. Every DMV in Milwaukee County, for example, opens after 8am and closes before 5pm. For rural voters, many DMV hours of operation are even more limited;  for example the DMV office in Minocqua is open only on the first Tuesday in January, April, July, and October 9am to 3:30pm (in other words, four days a year).

It’s for reasons like these that Wisconsin federal district court judge Lynn Adelman found that 300,000 registered voters lacked the proper ID sufficient for casting a ballot under Wisconsin’s law.

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