A federal judge says the state Division of Motor Vehicles must investigate claims that some individuals seeking a photo ID for voting may have been given incorrect information about how the process works, possibly violating a court order.
The order from Judge James Peterson comes a day after The Nation reported on several incidents at DMV service centers around the state, in which an individual was given wrong or incomplete information about how to obtain a valid photo ID without a birth certificate. In some instances, the individual was told that it could take until after the election to get an ID.
The answers given by service center employees may run counter to an order Peterson issued this summer, in which he said the state must provide valid voting credentials to individuals who may not have all of the required documents.
In an order issued Friday, Peterson told the state to investigate the allegations and deliver a report to him no later than October 7 that details the state’s findings and any corrective action it plans to take. The judge said “the reports, if true, demonstrate that the state is not in compliance with the court’s injunction.”
The state Department of Justice said it would comply with the judge’s order.
In a statement issued earlier in the day, DMV administrator Kristina Boardman defended the process being used at service centers, arguing that it “remains effective in providing all eligible voters the identification required to vote. ”
Boardman said that “if an employee made a mistake in providing incorrect or incomplete information, DMV will review and provide training to ensure employees are following correct procedure.”
One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross, one of the groups involved in the lawsuit that prompted Peterson’s original order, said the state has some “serious explaining” to do. “Even one legal voter disenfranchised by bureaucratic malfeasance requires immediate action. Gov. Walker and the legislature must convene immediately to put the unconstitutional voter ID law on hold for this election,” Ross said.