Voter ID law going into effect Tuesday

DON’T FORGET TO BRING your photo identification when you go to the polls to vote next Tuesday – that is, if you do go to vote next Tuesday.

Tuesday is the primary election for the spring general election, which is the election that generally sees the lowest voter turnout of any – and this one will probably be no different.

The only primary election on the local level is a five-way race for two open seats on the Holland Town Board. Voters in the Oostburg School District will be voting up or down on a $9.59 million referendum issue. Statewide, a field of three candidates will be narrowed down to two for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

All in all, that’s a recipe for a small voter turnout. It means most local polling places could be the best place to go next Tuesday for a little peace and quiet.

But Tuesday’s election will be a significant one for another reason – it will be the first time that the state’s Voter ID law will be enforced since it was adopted in 2011.

The law actually went into effect last March when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on the challenge to the Voter ID that had worked its way through the legal system since the law was adopted. But state officials wisely decided not to begin enforcing it with the general election last April, as there was not enough time to properly train poll workers and educate voters to the law’s requirements.

Now it is the law of the land – or at least, the law of the state.

The timing should work well, as local officials will be able to work on their implementation of the law at an election with a historically low turnout – which means there should be little complication or delay caused by the new law next Tuesday.

The acid test will come in the following elections – the spring general election, which includes the presidential preferential primary; the fall primary election, if there is one; and the fall general election, which includes the vote for president and historically sees the highest voter turnout of any election.

Proponents of the law said that it should not cause great delays or complications, as it adds one simple step to the process of getting and casting a ballot.

As the Government Accountability Board explains on its website, BringIt.Wisconsin.gov, voting will be a matter of “State It, Show It, Sign It.” What each voter will have to do at their polling place is state their name, show a valid photo identifi cation and sign the voting list. Showing a valid photo identifi cation is the only step that has been added by Voter ID and it can only be hoped that it will not slow down the process greatly or overly lengthen voting lines.

The important part is that every voter needs to remember to bring a valid photo identification with them to the polls in order to vote. For most, that should be simple – our driver’s license, which we have to carry with us anyway, will suffice.

Anyone with questions should check out the BringIt.Wisconsin. gov website to find the answers to their questions of what is and isn’t a valid identification and how the law affects those who do not vote at a regular polling place.

If we all remember the catch phrase – Bring It – voting should not be impacted by the new law and we can all still fulfill our civic duty by voting.


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