Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, March 02, 2024

Wisconsin must spread awareness on voter ID laws

The upcoming general election has been on the minds of Americans for over a year. It is in the final stretch, with Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facing off in debates, something that will surely have an impact on the election next month. 

For many, voting is a definite, especially in an election this buzzed about. However, in states like Wisconsin where there are strict voter identification laws, some people may be stopped from voting because of legal red tape.

In the state of Wisconsin, voters need to present an approved form of state photo ID to be able to vote at the polls. Many believe that this policy was enacted by conservative officials in order to complicate the process of voter registration for new voters, such as young people and people of color, who usually vote for left-leaning candidates. 

In a rush to obtain the necessary IDs to vote, many Wisconsinites are rushing to the DMV to get their licenses or voter IDs. However, many people are being met with obstacles of ignorance and confusion, and could lose out on their opportunity for their voice to be heard in November.

VoteRiders, a voting rights group primarily based in Wisconsin, recently made headlines when they sent a volunteer to 10 different DMVs across the state to register to vote without a birth certificate. According to CNN, the volunteer got inconsistent information from the different DMVs, many times not leaving with the necessary voter ID he came in for. 

This lack of consistency and information on the part of DMV employees is deplorable. Someone’s right to vote shouldn’t be squandered because people do not know how to do their jobs. According to Judge James D. Peterson of the United States District Court for Western Wisconsin, Wisconsinites should be provided with a voter ID if they present the proper paperwork at the DMV. These inconsistencies mean that the state is not in compliance with the law.

The headlines made by VoteRiders caused a national stir, eventually involving federal courts. Just this past Friday, a federal judge ordered an immediate investigation into the situation and demanded there be massive fixes before the election. 

The right to vote is elemental and integral in the United States. Voting should be accessible to all who are eligible—American citizens over the age of 18—and easy to register for. People shouldn’t have to jump through massive hurdles in order to obtain something that is a fundamental right in our country. In states such as California, voters can register to vote easily online in under five minutes. 

By making the voter registration process hard and cumbersome, government officials are deterring new voters from registering and becoming a part of the American democratic system. There is already a massive discrepancy in the age of voters. According to the Elect Project, only 20 percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in the 2012 election, while 70 percent of those above the age of 60 voted. 

By making it harder for new voters to become involved in the democracy, this problem is only going to spiral deeper. People who cannot vote cannot have their voices heard on how public issues are handled, who represents them and more. Not everyone wants to deal with a complicated process, especially young voters who are used to the ease that comes with the digital age. Wisconsin voting officials need to wake up and streamline their system.

As an out-of-state student, I am registered to vote in the state of California. I sincerely thought about transitioning my voting registration to Wisconsin for this election, so that I could vote in person at the polls instead of having to deal with absentee ballots and more. However, the convoluted and inaccessible system made me think twice. Why would I register to vote in a state where it is a pain to do so?

 If officials want everyone’s voices to be heard in their state and not unintentionally disenfranchise would-be voters, there at least needs to be a sense of knowledge among those who are in charge of registration. 

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

Samantha is a sophomore majoring in journalism and communication arts. What do you think is the best way to take down barriers to voting in Wisconsin? Will a lower turnout be observed as a result of the restrictions? Have you experienced any obstacles in registering to vote? Please send all comments, questions and concerns to opinion@dailycardinal.com.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.
Comments


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal