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Voters must provide ID

Voters need more than their presence at the polls to cast a ballot next month.

For the first time, Wisconsin voters must present a form of photo identification to cast a ballot.

With the first of four elections this year less than a month away, Douglas County Clerk Susan Sandvick is urging voters to plan now to avoid frustration at the polls.

Whether at the polling location on Election Day, or voting absentee at a municipal clerk’s office, voters will need to present the ID to cast a ballot.

Superior City Clerk Terri Kalan said the new requirement won’t affect those who receive an absentee ballot on a regular or permanent basis; however, people seeking an absentee ballot for the next election or year must provide a photo ID — whether by fax, email or other means — before a ballet can be issued.

The exception is permanent overseas voters and active duty military personnel who are not required to provide an ID unless they vote in person.

"An acceptable photo ID is not required to include a current address," Sandvick said.

According to the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles, residents who have a current Wisconsin-issued driver’s license or ID have what they need to vote. Out of state driver’s licenses and IDs are not accepted.

However, acceptable forms of ID include can include those expired since the last general election, Nov. 4, 2014, including driver’s licenses, state IDs, military IDs or a U.S. Passport book or card.

Other IDs are acceptable as long as they have not expired. A Certificate of Naturalization issued no more than two years before the election date can be used as an ID. For those waiting for an ID to arrive, the driver’s license or identification card receipt issued within 45 days of the election by Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles can be used. Members of federally recognized Wisconsin Indian Tribes can use an ID issued by the tribe. Students can also use photo ID issued by a Wisconsin accredited university, college or technical college that includes date of issuance, student signature, expiration date no later than two years after date of issuance. The student ID also requires an enrollment verification document.

A state issued ID card without a photo, issued to those with religious objections to being photographed, are also accepted.

Photo IDs that are not accepted are Veterans Affairs IDs, state or federal government employee IDs, out of state driver’s licenses or state IDs, employment IDs and certificates of citizenship.

A free state ID for voting purposes is available through the local Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles office. If a person does not have a valid Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID, an application for the free ID for voting purposes must be made in person at the DMV. Application requires the applicant to present official documents to prove identity, citizenship and residency; photocopies are not accepted.

Voters can also petition the DMV to avoid paying government fees for documents necessary to prove their identification. For information, visit http://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/how-to-apply/petition-pro.... Visit www.bringit.wisconsin.gov for a list of documents needed for a free ID and apply at the DMV, 1701 N. Fourth St., Superior.

To request an absentee ballot be mailed to you, a photocopy of the voter’s photo ID must be included. Voting by absentee ballot, whether in-person or mailed, adheres to strict deadlines, and Sandvick encourages voters to be aware of the requirements and dates. Contact your municipal clerk for more information.

If a person gets to the polling location and does not have acceptable photo ID, a provisional ballot may be cast. This allows the voter to vote a ballot, and if the required photo ID is provided before the close of polls at 8 p.m., or to the municipal clerk by 4 p.m. the Friday after the election, the ballot is counted.

"We absolutely strive to make voting in Douglas County, a welcoming, positive experience, with as little disruption as possible," said Sandvick. The County Clerk’s staff and municipal clerks understand there will be questions and perhaps confusion with the new ID law, and they are prepared to assist voters with the new process.

The 2016 election cycle, which includes the U.S. presidential race, will likely draw significant voter turnout, according to Sandvick. The new photo ID requirement may generate longer time waiting in line at the polls, so having the right photo ID will help limit any voter frustration, Sandvick said.

For more information, about how the new Voter ID law affects you, contact your municipal clerk or the County Clerk’s Office at 715-395-1341.

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