New Year, new Wisconsin voting requirements

LA CROSSE, Wis.--With the new year comes new Wisconsin voting requirements.

Wisconsin's presidential primary on April 3 2012 is going to be the first real election in which everyone will need to show a voter ID.

Some local groups are starting the process of making sure eligible voters won't be turned away when they cast their ballots in the upcoming election.

"Voting is how this country runs and I think that for individuals," said Jane Klekamp, director of the La Crosse County League of Women Voters. "That is how we make our voice be heard."

It's almost time to head back to the polls but this year, voters will need to show a valid voter ID to get a ballot.

Sounds simple enough, but Klekamp said getting every eligible voter on the same page with the new changes is harder than it sounds.

"We don't know who doesn't know," said Klekamp. "We don't know who is unaware of law."


"There is a segment of the population, the elderly people are affected a lot, also students and the disabled population is the other population that may not have driver's licenses and so some of them will also be adversely affected," said Noreen Holmes, director of the La Crosse County Aging Unit.

Starting Jan. 10, the League of Women Voters, AARP and the La Crosse County Aging Unit, will hold four sessions in La Crosse County to inform voters of the new changes.

With a growing aging population, Holmes said starting early will help make sure some of La Crosse County's oldest voters can continue to cast their ballots.

"The elderly people, usually a high percent of them, vote," said Holmes. "They take their civic responsibility serious, and they should, and we as a society need to enable them to continue using that right."

But getting a valid ID could also take longer now that Wisconsinites can no longer pick up their IDs the same day they apply for one, which is part of the reason why La Crosse County Clerk Ginny Dankmeyer said be prepared.

"Well, at the DMV, if you apply for it, I believe it's now 10 days and they mail it to you at your house, but getting a birth certificate, if you're trying to get a birth certificate from California, you're looking at 2-3 weeks," said Dankmeyer. "So it's important to start the process now, so you get the birth certificate so you can go to the DMV to get the photo ID"

The most common valid forms of ID include a passport, driver's license and state identification card.

People who arrive without proper identification for Wisconsin's presidental primary they can still vote with provisional ballots, but those ballots won't be counted until they show their I.D.

Voter ID sessions will be held:
Tuesday Jan. 10 2012- 10:30a.m. at Onalaska City Hall
Wednesday Jan. 11 2012- 1:30p.m. at Holmen Village Hall
Thursday Jan. 12 2012- 1:30p.m. at West Salem Village Hall
Friday Jan. 13 2012-10:30a.m. at La Crosse City Hall 

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