Issuing new student ID cards to out-of-state students could run a cost of up to $700,000 for the University of Wisconsin System as officials continue to weigh how to meet the requirements of the Voter ID law.
The University of Wisconsin System is weighing the possibility of issuing a second ID to out-of-state students that would comply with the new voter ID law but could mean up to $700,000 in costs for the Madison campus.
UW spokesperson Dennis Chaptman said issuing the new student IDs would likely cost UW at most around $700,000, but a more common estimation is around $500,000.
“The [second] ID would be for a student from Illinois who wants to keep her Illinois driver’s license rather than getting a Wisconsin-issued driver’s license or Wisconsin state ID,” Government Accountability Board spokesperson Reid Magney said. “She would not only need to have 20 days of residency but also the student ID card.”
Wisconsin students have everything they need to vote in Wisconsin, either with a driver’s license or state-issued student ID, Magney said. The student ID cards would be for out-of-state students, he said. The UW System is considering issuing a new card to serve voting purposes that would not replace students’ current ID.
The new student ID card would require the signature of the cardholder and an expiration date of two years to qualify under the law, he said. The university is currently exploring the possibility of issuing each ID for two years to meet the law’s requirements.
Not only would students need to use the new student ID to vote, but they must also present a tuition bill or enrollment letter to prove they are currently enrolled at the polls, Magney said.
Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said the individual costs for universities which would be incurred by distributing the cards could harm schools already struggling under the weight of state budget cuts.
“This comes at a time when Gov. (Scott) Walker and Republican legislators have cut about $250 million from the UW System,” Heck said. “Where is this money supposed to come from”?
To qualify for a second student ID, students would not only need the documentation to register to vote but also provide information on their current address to the university, Heck said. Students can opt to receive a Wisconsin state ID for free if they want that instead.
The UW System and GAB have collaborated in their efforts to meet the requirements laid out in the voter ID law since its approval this summer, Magney said.
While the UW System initially considered issuing stickers to student ID cards to make them valid to use at the polls, he said the groups decided against the measure and have told board officials they are now considering issuing these new student ID cards.
Consequently, while Magney said the GAB had previously approved the rule allowing for universities to apply stickers to meet the requirements, GAB Director Kevin Kennedy would stop pushing for this rule change.
Showing ID is not the only change at the polls. For instance, roommates will no longer be able to vouch that their roommates have met the 20-day residency requirement to register at the polls, Magney said. Instead, they will need to provide a utility bill or a lease agreement to meet this condition