As the director of AARP’s Wisconsin office, I have chatted members from all over the state about the new law requiring everyone to present a photo ID in order to vote. Two camps have emerged from these conversations. Some folks are worried they won’t have everything they’ll need in order to receive a ballot. Then there are those who aren’t the slightest bit concerned, but probably should be.
My purpose in writing to your readers today is to make sure none of them are turned away at the polls simply because they didn’t take the time to familiarize themselves with the law and have the proper ID they need in hand to cast their vote.
First and foremost, I implore voters of all ages not to wait until the last minute. Follow the Boy Scouts motto and “Be Prepared.” If you don’t have an acceptable form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles office to obtain a free state-issued ID card.
But this takes time and planning, and some DMV offices in rural areas have irregular hours. Give yourself plenty time to obtain your ID well before Election Day.
Secondly, don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because you’ve been voting at the same polling place for years and all the election workers know you by name and face that you will receive a ballot. Even if they recognize you, they will require you to present a photo ID before they can issue you a ballot. It’s the law.
To see all the acceptable forms of photo ID and learn more about the Voter ID law and what you’ll need to bring to the polls in this year’s elections, visit our website at www.aarp.org/wi or call the state’s Voter Help Line toll free 1-866-VOTE-WIS.
The website BringIt.Wisconsin.gov has a list of documents you can use to obtain a free state ID card. You can also contact your local municipal clerk’s office if you have questions or need more information.
But please don’t wait. The 2016 elections will shape the future of Wisconsin and our country, and we’d hate nothing more than to see you lose your right to vote over a technicality that easily could have been avoided.
The above was published in the March 24 Hillsboro Sentry Enterprise.