State lawmakers are calling on the Government Accountability Board to write formal rules on the use of student identification cards from technical colleges to vote.
The GAB reversed course last week on its own policy, after hearing arguments that the state’s Voter ID law allows qualifying tech college IDs to be used at the polls. State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) says the decision goes against the intent of lawmakers when they approved the bill, which does say ID cards from four year colleges and universities are valid at the polls.
The legislature’s Joint Committee for the Review of Administrative Rules wants the Board to create a formal policy on the issue by writing an emergency rule.
The request sets off a lengthy process that requires the GAB to write a scope statement, which must be approved by the governor, and then submit a draft of the emergency rule for the governor to approve. The agency has 30 days to submit the rule, but there is no time requirement for the governor to act on the proposal. The earliest a rule could be approved is February.
State Representative Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie) says the committee’s action now means the governor can indefinitely block its adoption by not acting on the rule. He says that gives the “governor the final say as to whether that rule will ever ever go into effect, and that’s wrong.”
Democratic state Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) says Republicans are abusing the rule making process to fix a problem they caused by failing to make it clear in the bill that tech college IDs will not be allowed for voting. She says Republicans should just come out and say they want to “disenfranchise technical college students” by introducing a bill that clearly states their ID cards are not valid at the polls.
During a hearing Tuesday, Republicans argued that the bill was clear on the issue and they never intended to allow tech college ID for voter identification purposes because most of those students reside off campus.
The committee also ordered the Government Accountability Board to write emergency rules on allowing stickers to be placed on student identification cards so they meet voter ID requirements and how information can be pre-filled on recall petition forms voters obtain online. Democrats say the move will likely result in those policies meeting a similar fate.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:13)