Officials at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point say they are going to make sure there are as few obstacles as possible for students in complying with the new voter identification requirements that are set to take place at the start of next year.
The university says there will be a re-designed student ID that meets the requirements of the law available for students by the spring who do not possess a state issued ID card or drivers license.
Ryan Rutledge, President of the Student Government Association, said "SGA is probably going to cover the costs of the new IDs," meaning the ID card would be available for free to students who request it.
For those students with a compliant ID card, UWSP is planning on implementing a self-service feature where students go onto myPoint and print a university bill that has the student’s local address to take to their polling location.
Al Thompson, Vice Chancellor for Students Affairs, said a committee of members of SGA, administration officials and staff members are working out the final details and they "hope to have everything settled by the end of this semester."
One option that was looked at and ultimately dismissed was the use of stickers placed on current student IDs.
"Some campuses have talked about using that as an option, but ultimately we came to the conclusion we won’t do that," Thompson said. "There was an issue the stickers would interfere with the registers on campus and gumming them up."
Rutledge said that hopefully by next year all incoming freshmen and current sophomores will be issued the re-designed ID; however, there is concern with the regulations, which state the IDs can only be valid for two years and students would have to be re-issued a new one.
A memo issued by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau when the Voter ID bill was proposed indicates that the estimated costs of re-issuing ID cards to all students in the UW-System would be $1.1 million. The memo goes on to state that the estimated costs of re-issuing ID cards to students every two years would cost an additional $300,000, however, the memo states that if IDs were only re-issued to those students who request one that it would cost less.
The Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan policy institute that devotes a lot of time to covering election issues, issued a report last month stating that upwards of 3.2 million people nationwide would be affected by voter identification laws passed in five states this past year.