Students urged to bring ID to vote

Students who recently registered to vote in Wisconsin are being encouraged to bring forms of identification to the polls if they are planning to vote in the Sept. 14 primary — just in case.

Various efforts are underway to register new voters in the state in anticipation of the Nov. 2 general election, and thousands have already been registered. The New Voters Project, a nonpartisan group, has registered 75,000 since hitting ground in Wisconsin in November 2003, according to Jessy Tolkan, the group's state campus director.

Tolkan said all interns and volunteers working for the group follow state laws regarding registering voters, including being deputized by the City of Milwaukee. However, she said the group is encouraging all voters to bring adequate forms of ID to the polls.

"We don't want a situation where anyone is not allowed to vote," Tolkan said.

Victoria Robertson, election services manager with the city's Election Commission, echoed similar statements.

Robertson said some registration cards were incomplete and encouraged anyone who recently registered anywhere but the commission's office to bring ID.

Wisconsin has same-day registration, which means voters can register and vote at the polls the day of an election. Voters using this option will also need to show a form of ID proving their residency.

State statutes define a Wisconsin resident as someone who has lived in the state for more than 10 days before the election. However, Robertson said statutes also apply residency to people who "have the intention of (a Wisconsin address) being their permanent address."

She said if a student goes home every break and thinks of their home state as his or her permanent address, the student should not vote.

"Of course no one can judge someone's intent, but with students I try to make that point," she said. "The issue of intent is still there."

For students who qualify and are interested in voting, Robertson said, valid forms of ID at a polling place include: A Wisconsin state driver's license, a Wisconsin state ID card, a utility bill (cell phone, cable, Internet, electricity or gas, etc.) sent within 90 days of the election, a signed lease covering the date of the election or any form of ID proving a person's name and Wisconsin address (Marquette ID cards will not qualify).

A final option, Robertson said, is for a voter without proper ID to bring in a corroborator — a person who does live in the city and has a valid ID.

A student who is already registered to vote in another state but wishes to vote in Wisconsin instead and fulfills residency requirements can still register in Wisconsin. Robertson said the state is "considered more of an open registration state," but said "everyone is responsible for their own actions" when it comes to canceling a previous registration and not voting in two states.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for the Sept. 14 primary.

For students even more interested in being involved in the political process, the election commission is hiring. Robertson said the commission has enough poll workers for the primary, but is looking to add 200 workers for the Nov. 2 general election. Interested persons must be qualified to vote in Wisconsin, and can call the Election Commission for more information at 286-3491.