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The Voter ID Law: What To Do If You Don't Have One

Picture IDs to use for voting can be obtained at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The next round of elections will be here before you know it. The first will be a Feb. 21 primary for local races, including and , and it continues all the way until the November presidential election.

Despite challenges to the state's new voter ID law, assume that you'll need a Wisconsin ID card for voting purposes.

If you don’t have a photo ID (like a driver's license), the Department of Motor Vehicles can issue one free of charge if you will be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election and are requesting an ID for the purpose of voting.

A free ID card is NOT available if you:

  • Currently have a valid, unexpired driver license (this is acceptable at the polls)
  • Will not be at least 18 years of age on the date of the next election
  • Already have a Wisconsin ID card that is not eligible for renewal (you may renew your ID card up to one year prior to its expiration date)
  • Are not eligible to vote in Wisconsin

When applying, it will be necessary to provide your Social Security number and one document from each category below.

Proof of name and date of birth:

  • Certified U.S. birth certificate (not a copy)
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Tribal ID card

Proof of identity:

  • Social Security card
  • Certified copy of a marriage certificate or judgment of divorce
  • A driver license or ID card form another state (this must be surrendered to get a Wisconsin driver license or ID card)

Proof of Wisconsin residency – Documents listed below must include your name and current Wisconsin residence street address:

  • Paycheck or stub or earning statement with your name and Wisconsin address, and your employer's name and address, issued within the last 90 days. Your employer's telephone number may be required for verification.
  • A bill for water, gas, electricity, landline telephone, cable or cell phone service issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
  • An account statement from a Wisconsin bank/financial institution issued within the last 90 days. Electronic copies are acceptable.
  • Certified school record or transcript that identifies you by name, shows your current address and is issued within the last 90 days for the most recent school period.
  • Mortgage documents for a residential property located in Wisconsin.
  • Community based/assisted living residential contracts.
  • Your current valid homeowner, renter or motor vehicle insurance policy dated within one year of application.
  • A letter from a homeless shelter.

Proof of U.S. citizenship, legal permanent resident, conditional resident or temporary visitor status:

  • U.S. state or local government-issued certificate of birth (certified copy - birth registration and hospital certificates are not acceptable).
  • Valid U.S. passport
  • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Certificate of Citizenship

The Government Accountability Board notes that an unexpired Wisconsin driver license is the most common acceptable photo ID for voting. An expired Wisconsin driver license or ID is acceptable too as long as it expired within two years after the most recent general election. In other words, if a Wisconsin ID or driver license expired in December 2010, it can still be used for voting purposes in the November 2012 general election.

The most common documents are listed above. For a complete list of acceptable documents and more information on how to get a Wisconsin ID card, visit the Wisconsin DMV website.

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