Under the new process that 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 live outside of Wisconsin.
DMV bureau of field services director Jim Miller says the new petition process will allow people to obtain a photo ID card, while protecting the integrity of Wisconsin’s photo identification products. He anticipates the turnaround for Wisconsin-born residents will take less than two days. For those native to another state, it remains unclear how long the process will take. However, the state expects only a handful of people seeking a photo ID card will have to make use of the system.
The move comes 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. Opponents of the law argued in court that some people who lack of a birth certificate may have difficulty obtaining one or covering the cost of tracking one down. The law already includes a provision that requires ID cards to be provided for free, if a person indicates they need one for voting purposes.
Wisconsin’s Voter ID requirement does still remain on hold due to an ongoing federal court challenge. An appeals court in Chicago is scheduled to hear arguments in that case on Friday.