Student voter IDs now available

Story by Tyler Hart

 

Because of a new law, the process for registering to vote has changed in Wisconsin. UW-Eau Claire is now offering a simpler and easier way for students to register to vote.

Student voter IDs are now available to Eau Claire students for $2 in the Blugold Card Office, located in Davies Center 156. The IDs comply with the voter ID law that came into effect on Jan. 1.

The law requires Wisconsin voters to show a valid photo ID in order to receive a ballot to vote. This ID may be in the form of a Wisconsin driver’s license, a U.S. passport,  a military ID, etc.

According to the Government Accountability Board website for the state of Wisconsin, Eau Claire’s current student IDs may not be used to register to vote because they lack a signature, the date the card was issued and the expiration date of the card. The new student voter IDs will comply with all of these necessary requirements.

Teresa O’Halloran, special assistant to the chancellor for affirmative action, was involved with creating the new IDs and the voter verification document, which is used for verifying residency.

“I got involved in making sure that we understood exactly what complied and worked with the staff and centers that run the Blugold office, to develop a separate voter ID that would comply with the voter ID law,” O’Halloran said. “We also worked with the Registrar’s office and others to get the voter verification document on MyBlugold CampS.”

In addition to a photo ID, proof of residency is necessary in order to register to vote. Students living on campus do not need to worry about this because they are listed as residents of Eau Claire and need only a photo ID to vote.

Students living off campus, however, must print off the voter verification document. This document is available on MyBlugold CampS and serves as proof of residence for students living off campus who want to register to vote.

O’Halloran said the cards are directed toward out-of-state students in Eau Claire.

“Most students from Wisconsin have a driver’s license that complies with all of the necessary requirements,” she said. “The voter IDs are the easiest way for out-of-state students to fulfill the requirements.”

Sophomore and Wisconsin native Eric Knutson said he thought the IDs were more beneficial to Minnesota residents.

“I think it’s more convenient for people from Minnesota,” he said, “but it doesn’t affect me because I have a Wisconsin driver’s license.”

Junior Corydon Fish is the director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Student Senate and was part of the process to establish voter ID cards as well as provide information to students.

“(The university) contacted me to create the PR campaign to not only help inform students about the voter ID laws but about the IDs themselves and how they can use them,” Fish said.

He also stated that any person who has a Wisconsin driver’s license must use it to register, but they don’t necessarily have to use it to vote.

Minnesota native Alex Cole likes that he’ll still have an easy way to be able to vote locally.

“I like the idea,” he said. “It’s good that I can easily vote on local issues that affect me while I’m in school because I’m here more than I’m at home.”