One advocate points to a perceived glitch in obtaining a free photo ID for voting purposes.
A new law in Wisconsin requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. Folks who don’t have an ID and can’t afford to buy one can get one for free (the regular fee for a photo ID is $28), but they’ll need to produce a birth certificate. However, some forms used to apply for a birth certificate indicate the requirement for a valid photo ID. Richard Pinney says that’s a catch-22. “Nobody was aware of this snafu and people were fairly alarmed by it.”
Pinney says he was fairly alarmed by what he calls a “systemic statewide failure,” he discovered while conducting a survey for his website. He says “This form that has this misinformation is actually a link on the Government Accountability Board (website), it’s a link to a bad form in the vital records office and in these 48 counties.”
The misinformation on certain forms could sway some folks from getting the photo ID they need to vote in Wisconsin, says Pinney, whose new website was created to help clear up questions regarding the new law and help voters get the identification they need to vote.
Reid Magney with the Government Accountability Board makes it perfectly clear; citizens can get a birth certificate without having a photo ID. “State law does not require you to provide a photo ID when you apply for a birth certificate by mail from the state. Some counties may require it, but the state does not require it. If you go in there in person, you’re gonna have to show a photo ID.”
Regarding the inconsistency in what is stated on the forms versus the actual law, Magney says the GAB doesn’t have control over the state’s 72 counties and the forms they make available to the public. He says they do try to provide information to people to get what they need to vote. Reid says “it’s (their) mission.”
Wisconsin’s Voter ID law (AB-7) was passed in May 2011.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:44