Report: DMV making voter ID difficult in Wisconsin

A voting rights group, using audio it recorded from several Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles offices in rural areas of the state, says people there are being given incorrect information when they try to get an ID to vote in next month’s election.

The group, VoteRiders, gave the recordings to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, saying it’s “challenging and confusing” for people to get the identification now required to vote.

“You’re not guaranteed to get an ID card. Nothing’s guaranteed,” a worker at the DMV station in Hudson told a woman last Wednesday.

That’s similar to what a woman was told in Rice Lake, Wis., when she asked about getting an ID without a birth certificate.

In Black River Falls, Wis., a DMV worker said no temporary voting credential was available. That, too, is incorrect.

At the Amery, Wis.,  DMV, a worker told the woman she could get an ID in time for the election, but he couldn’t promise the voter she would have it if she wanted to vote early, the Journal Sentinel said.

Susan Crawford, an attorney for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, said her group may present the latest recordings in a friend-of-the-court brief. She said the recordings could prompt courts to create a new safety valve for those who can’t get IDs, such as by allowing them to sign statements at the polls that would allow them to vote without ID.

She discounted the state’s contention that a safety valve is already available because state workers are trained to tell people they can quickly get voting credentials in one trip to the DMV.

“I think the state’s credibility on that point is very much in question,” Crawford said.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports today it sought the audio from VoteRiders last week and specifically requested the recordings yesterday. VoteRiders declined to provide them, the paper said.