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Students to see changes in polling places

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The Whitewater League of Women’s Voters met last Thursday to discuss the new voter photo ID law which will take effect beginning in 2012.

Starting with the Feb. 2012 Primary elections, all Wisconsin electors are required to show an acceptable photo ID before casting a ballot.

Ellen Penwell, president of the League of Women’s Voters, invited members of the Government Accountability Board to speak with Whitewater residents about the changes to the law.

The Government Accountability Office is charged with the mission of educating all Wisconsin electors, Penwell said.

“There is no such thing as a seperate voter ID card,” Adam Harvell of G.A.B. said.

Other forms of photo ID can be used, such as: a Wisconsin D.O.T.-issued driver license or identification card, a military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service or a U.S. passport.

These forms can be expired after the date of the most recent general election. Currently, that would make an ID that has been expired since the Nov. 2, 2010 election alright to use for the upcoming election in February.

The other acceptable photo ID’s which can be used, but must be unexpired are: A certification of naturalization, a driving receipt issued by Wisconsin D.O.T. within 60 days, an identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin or a photo ID issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college.

Currently, UW-Whitewater student identification cards do not meet the requirements for an acceptable photo identification for voting purposes.

Aaron Frailing, election specialist for the G.A.B., said a lot of UW System schools are in need of a facelift on their student ID cards if the  universities want to be able to give students the chance of using them at the polling stations.

An acceptable university ID would have to include on it: the date of issuance, the signature of the student, the photo of the student and an expiration date no later than two years after the date of issuance.

The university ID also must not be expired.

Currently, UW-Whitewater student ID’s only include a photo, student name and identification number.

Frailing said Whitewater Student Government is hosting an informational meeting sometime in late October or early November to make sure students are knowledgable in all the changes for voting purposes.

Another major change requires electors to be living in their residence for 28 consecutive days, compared to the 10 days that were previously required.

Proof of residence documents show the elector’s current address. A variety of documents qualify to meet the proof of residency including: paychecks, printed bank statements, a current and valid Wisconsin driver license or a printed utility bill.

“Many students will not have been at their current residence for a consecutive 28 days if they’ve gone home to their parents for the summer,” Frailing said.

If a voter has moved within Wisconsin less than 28 days before the election, they must vote from their previous address. This can be done by going to that particular polling place or by sending in an absentee ballot, Frailing said.

“If a student obtained an absentee ballot from home, then returned to Whitewater residency, they can then return it back there,” Frailing said.

Voters who have moved to Wisconsin from another state less than 28 days before an election will not be eligible to vote in Wisconsin.

For further information on the Voter Photo ID Law and other changes for student voters, visit the Government Accountability Board website.

To find out if UW-Whitewater plans to redesign the student ID’s, the Whitewater Student Government meeting in late October is open to the public.

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The student news site of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Students to see changes in polling places