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Voter ID: No Birth Certificate Needed to Apply for Wisconsin ID at DMV Office

A new procedure will help people obtain state ID cards needed to vote.

Last week, Gov. Scott Walker announced that, beginning Monday, residents without a copy of their birth certificate can go to a DMV branch and provide their birth date, and the state will verify the birth record, for free. It is needed, in order to get a Wisconsin ID. Until now, the government has charged a fee for copies of birth certificates. In addition, people will have to present proof of residency and proof of identity.

The list of proof of residency documents includes (in part):

  • A current paycheck stub/earning statement
  • A utility bill or mobile phone bill, from within the last 90 days
  • An account statement from a bank
  • A deed/title/rental agreement
  • Certified school records or transcripts, identifying the person by name and current address (issued within the last 90 days)

The list of proof of identity documents includes (in part):

  • Social Security card
  • W2 form
  • 1099 form
  • Military discharge papers
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce judgment

The DMV says the full list of acceptable documents for proof of residency and proof of identity is posted on the DMV's website.

“We just believe that this process is a good one for our customers and the citizens of Wisconsin," Jim Miller says. He is director of the Bureau of Field Services with the state DMV.

"It allows them to get an identification card, if needed, for voting, for no charge, and it allows us to still uphold the integrity of our identification card, because we are checking through several different systems to make sure that we are issuing it to the correct person,” Miller says.

For the last few years, the state has been issuing free IDs to use at the polls. But residents without birth certificates or other required documentation had to pay for those records, in order to apply for an ID. Critics of the photo ID requirement said that amounted to a “poll tax,” which could keep low-income voters from going to the polls.

The new procedure might be used by voters who’ve just found out they’ll need an ID to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Late last week, a federal appeals court reinstated Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
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