The University of Wisconsin-Madison is opening a second campus location for students to receive special voter identification cards in advance of Wisconsin's presidential primary and spring election next week.
According to a report from the The Wisconsin State Journal, the university will open a second printing location for the voter IDs at the university's Gordon Dining and Events Center, a building close to a number of dorms and student neighborhoods. The university also plans to extend the hours that students can attain the IDs as part of a larger campus effort to accommodate and ensure Wisconsin students have what they need to vote.
The special voter identification cards are a standalone credential independent of the UW-Madison student ID, the Wiscard. The Wiscard is not compliant with Wisconsin state law that requires a photo ID to vote, so the university has distributed the free voter IDs since 2012. Students have previously been able to get the voter IDs directly from the university's Wiscard office located on campus.
Student groups and local officials have previously called on the university to make Wiscards voter ID compliant, but the university has stood firm on a separate credential. University officials stated previously that making the campus card voter ID compliant would cost the university hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, while specifics of Wisconsin’s voter ID law would mean that Wiscards would have to be replaced every two years to meet expiration dates.
The voter ID cards aren't a requirement, as any UW-Madison students carrying a Wisconsin driver’s license won't need the separate voter ID, and students who aren’t residents can still cast absentee votes in their home states. The university estimates some 6,400 students don’t have the necessary credentials needed to vote in Wisconsin and will need to get one of the special voter IDs. At the time of the report, UW had printed 1,240 voter IDs.
According to university officials, students need only present their Wiscards at either location to receive the voter ID, and printing the credential will take less than two minutes. University officials are also directing students to vote.wisc.edu for additional information on polling locations and other important voter requirements.