Technical college students can't use school ID's at polls - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Technical college students can't use school ID's at polls


Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board brought questions to light Monday regarding a small section of the new Voter ID law which states that university and college students can use their school ID's to get a ballot at the polls, but technical college students cannot.

Roughly 400,000 people enroll in the Wisconsin Technical College System every year.

But under the Voter ID law, none of them will be given the same rights as their counterparts at schools like UW-Madison.

"You can register (to vote) with a technical college student ID, but you cannot use it for photo ID purposes to actually get a ballot," explained GAB Attorney Michael Haas.

That strange, but accurate statement puzzled several members of the GAB.

They asked Haas to explain why technical school ID's were prohibited, but he didn't have an answer.

"We did not find anything helpful in explaining why it was rejected," Haas told them.

It was even more puzzling to students and administrators at Madison Area Technical College.

"I think there's been some confusion around it, from the get-go as we all know," said Madison College Student Development Vice President Keith Cornille.

"It is kinda odd, cuz, I mean we're getting educated too and we're gonna be working too, so I don't see what the difference would be," said Madison College freshman Bart Benedict.

According to a spokesperson for Senator Jeff Stone, it all comes down to the original hearings on the bill.

Representatives from traditional universities argued successfully that their student ID's be allowed for use at the polls, but no one from the technical college system was there to argue the same thing.

Stone's spokesperson, Mike Pyritz, also said adding technical college students would have put an undue burden on municipal clerks who handle elections.

But Wisconsin's League of Women Voters is crying foul.

"This law creates a third class of citizens who may not vote and that would be citizens who don't have ID," said League Executive Director Andrea Kaminski.

Its one of the many reasons the League of Women Voters will soon file suit claiming the law violates the state constitution.

Kaminski claims the constitution only allows legislators to disenfranchise felons and people declared legally incompetent, or to expand voting rights.

"It does not allow the legislature to pass other kinds of laws that affect suffrage or voting," said Kaminski.

To make things more confusing, even those students who can use their college ID's to get a ballot at the polls must still present added proof of enrollment, such as a letter from the school stating they're enrolled for the current term.

They'll also need to get a voter sticker from the state to put on the ID.

The GAB has no choice, but to instruct election officials to follow the law as written.

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