Ashland Daily Press, February 3, 2016
By Sara M. Chase, firstname.lastname@example.org
With the Spring Primary elections less than two weeks away and a Presidential election towards the end of this year, it’s a good time to think about what one needs to vote and why one should vote.
“This is the backbone of the League of Women Voters,” said LWV ABC President Madelaine Herder. “There has been tireless advocacy work by generations to secure the 19th amendment with the right to vote.”
Herder said it’s important that people get out and vote.
“In the past few years we, the community members have experienced the importance of voting for local candidates on all levels including school boards, as our voices to ensure our quality of life and the quality of life for future generations continues with environmental, education and other areas to ensure livelihoods,” she said. “Please help make democracy work on a local, state and federal level by getting out to vote.”
Local Resident Jim Oakley addressed some of the important things voters need to know.
“There are two things for people to be aware of,” he said. “One is new and that is the photo ID requirements. The other thing is being correctly registered.
“While it (voter registration) may have changed a little it hasn’t changed since the last time people voted. But there’s always new voters or people who maybe only voted once before and they may not know that some of this applies.”
Oakley provided more details on the photo ID requirements.
“The main thing with the photo ID is that you need to have an official ID with a picture,” he said. “It does not have to show your current residence … your photo ID is to verify who you are.”
There are several types of photo IDs that can be used, Oakley said.
“The easiest thing for most people will be their Wisconsin driver’s license,” he said. “A passport is a great example of something that identifies you but it doesn’t have your address on it unless you’ve taken the time to write it in … they don’t expect to see your current residence, it’s to prove who you are.
“Besides that, a tribal ID, military ID, some student IDs.”
Oakley said if you don’t have a photo ID like a driver’s license, you are eligible to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a ‘free’ Wisconsin ID card for voting.
More information is available on the ‘free’ Wisconsin ID card at the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s website http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/how-to-apply/id-card.aspx there is also a link on the city of Ashland’s website.
Oakley spoke about voter registration.
“People move and sometimes people just move across town. They have to reregister, people get married and their name has changed, unmarried … if your name has changed for any reason you have to get that registered,” he said, explaining that while your current address doesn’t matter for the photo ID it certainly does matter for registration.
“If you have a drivers license and it doesn’t show your current residence you have to show a proof of residence and that can be difficult for some people,” he said.
Oakley noted that people do get turned away and told to come back with the required documentation.
“If your state driver’s license is valid and it has your picture and your name on it, that’s great for the photo ID but if you moved and you have to vote in a different place then the address on your drivers license, then you have to register, you have to show proof of residence,” he said. “For that, there is a whole list of things that you could show. You only have to show one thing for the proof of residences but it has to fit into the list of documents that are accepted.”
Oakley provided some examples of those accepted documents, which need be recent.
“You could have a tax bill for your current residence, if you have a receipt for renting a property, that’s your proof of residence,” he said.
Some other examples included a recent bank statement, paycheck, or utility bill such as a gas, electric or telephone service statement.
“For proof of residences also if somebody gets all of those things online, some people don’t get anything on paper,” he said. “You can bring your smart phone with you or laptop and if you can bring whatever meets those requirements and you can show it online, that’s great too.”
For more information visit the city of Ashland website at http://www.coawi.org/for-residents/election-information/or the State of Wisconsin Government Accountability Board website http://www.gab.wi.gov/voters
Check out the LWV ABC on Facebook or visit them online at http://www.lwvabcwi.org as they offer plenty of voter information and links to other helpful websites.