The state Department of Transportation’s plan for helping people who lack a birth certificate obtain a state-issued photo ID is moving forward. Governor Scott Walker on Friday gave approval for the new birth verification process.
Under the new system, which will be in place starting next Monday, anyone applying for a photo ID card will be able to indicate on their application if they don’t have a birth certificate available. The petition will then be sent to the state’s Vital Records Office, which will verify birth information at no charge. Agreements with other states will allow verification for those who were born outside of Wisconsin.
The verification system was developed in response to a state Supreme Court decision on Wisconsin’s Voter ID law earlier this year. The court upheld the requirement, but also ordered the state to make sure nobody has to pay for any documents that are needed to get a photo ID for voting, such as a birth certificate.
Walker’s approval comes on the same day the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments in another lawsuit that has kept the voter ID requirement from being enforced. The state is asking the court to restore the law in time for the November 4th elections, with the streamlined verification process addressing concerns about individuals being forced to spend money on documents that are essentially needed to vote.