By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Back in September, it was widely reported in the media that state employees at various Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) centers had been giving false, or misleading, information to individuals seeking photo identification.
These individuals did not have a birth certificate and wanted an ID to vote. This is particularly troubling because nine percent of registered voters in Wisconsin don’t have a valid voter ID and many are still struggling to get the documents they need to vote in November.
Under Wisconsin Law, the state must “promptly issue a credential valid as a voting ID to any person who enters the ID Petition Process (IDPP) or who has a petition pending.”
Wisconsin claims it is doing this. In a legal filing on September 22, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel cited a press release from the Department of Transportation stating, “DMV will now be issuing photo identification receipts no later than six business days from receipt of the petition application.”
Moreover, the attorney general is also on record as having said, “DMV is carefully administering the process to ensure that anyone who is eligible for the IDPP will have a valid ID for the November general election.”
However, customers who have gone to the DMV to obtain voting credentials have been getting the run around. In fact, some of these customers have been led to believe that even if they initiated the petition process it would take several weeks, and they wouldn’t be able to vote in the general election on November 8.
This campaign of blatant misinformation finally prompted a federal judge to act. U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson recently ordered the Walker Administration to take immediate action to remedy clear voting rights violations in the implementation of the voter ID law.
Without question, Judge Peterson’s decision to intervene has important implications, because Wisconsin’s controversial voter ID law, in a battleground state, could help choose the next president. Walker and his Republican cohorts would like nothing more than to disenfranchise this segment of the state electorate, thus increasing the chances of delivering Wisconsin into the red column for Donald Trump.
In the final analysis, we can’t let that happen. If you don’t have a voter ID – go to the DMV and get one! It’s your legal right to receive one in a timely manner. And, be sure to vote!!! There’s simply too much at stake to sit idly by.