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Politics & Government

Some Milwaukee Area Voters Having a Difficult Time Registering / Obtaining Ballots

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Rachel Morello
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Voters at a polling place in Glendale.

In two cases brought to WUWM's attention Tuesday, the voters knew the rules regarding same-day registration and the state's Voter ID law, but the poll workers' initial responses were wrong.

A Shorewood voter posted on Facebook today the troubles his son had registering to vote. Though he had a valid ID with his current address, the poll worker asked for additional Proof of Residence as well as his social security number. Later, the precinct captain confirmed he had everything he needed to register to vote.

According to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, here's what you need to register.

What To Bring With You To Register

- If you have been issued a WI driver license or WI DOT-issued ID that is current and valid, you must provide the number and expiration date. If your WI driver license is revoked, suspended or expired; or your WI DOT-issued ID is expired, provide the number and the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have not been issued a WI driver license or WI DOT-issued ID, you must provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you have none of these documents, you will be able to indicate that fact.

- You must provide a Proof of Residence Document when registering to vote in Wisconsin.

What Counts As A Proof of Residence Document

This document must include the voter's name and current residential address.

A current and valid (unexpired and not suspended or revoked) Wisconsin driver license or Wisconsin state ID card with the voter’s current name and address QUALIFIES as Proof of Residence.

Here's a list of some of the valid forums of Proof of Residence documents:
- A current and valid State of Wisconsin Driver License or State ID card.
- Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit.
- Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card.
- A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
- A university, college, or technical college identification card (must include photo) ONLY if the voter provides a fee receipt dated within the last 9 months or the institution provides a certified housing list, that indicates citizenship, to the municipal clerk.
- A gas, electric, or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing no earlier than 90 days before registration.
- Bank statement.
- Paycheck or pay stub.
- A check or other document issued by a unit of government.
- A letter on public or private social service agency letterhead identifying a homeless voter and describing the individual’s residence for voting purposes.
- Residential lease that is effective on date of registration. (Not valid if registering by mail.) 

Voter ID Rules

Meanwhile, a WUWM staffer had a difficult time obtaining a ballot in Bay View. He is registered to vote in Bay View, but his photo ID has an old address, outside of Bay View, on it. He told the poll worker that his ID's address does not need to match his residence.

He talked to multiple poll workers and was asked for proof of residence. He showed them a copy of his cell phone bill with his current address on it and then received a ballot.

According to the GAB, if you are already registered to vote at your polling place, your photo ID's address DOES NOT need to be your current address.

"Some people think they need to get a new driver license or state ID card to vote if it has an old address, but that’s not correct," the GAB's website says. "The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles doesn’t require drivers to get a new license every time they move, and neither does state elections law. The photo ID law requires registered voters to prove their identity before getting a ballot. Anyone registered to vote has already proved Wisconsin residency."

If you have any problems voting today, please let WUWM know. Email maternow@uwm.edu or send a tweet to @WUWMradio. Call the GAB at 608-261-2028 if you have any voting questions.

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