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Faculty, staff encouraged to promote the new voter ID card

January 26, 2012 By Greg Bump

With photo identification now mandatory for participation in Wisconsin elections, faculty and staff are encouraged to inform students about the UW–Madison voter identification card, available for free at the Wiscard office in Union South.

Answers to questions about voter ID, registration, polling places and other election-related matters can be found here.

Gaphic: Photo ID


The cards became available to students starting Monday, the first day of classes for the spring semester. Regular hours for the Wiscard office are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students must present their current Wiscard to receive the supplemental card.

UW–Madison has a long history of encouraging its students to become active, engaged, and informed citizens. While active citizenship can be expressed in many ways, one of the most direct is through voting in local, state, and national elections.

While faculty and staff should inform students about the UW­–Madison voter ID cards, they must also take care to keep their remarks nonpartisan and neutral.

Information about how to vote and encouragement to do so are well within bounds should faculty and staff choose to discuss these issues in class. However, care must be taken to ensure that information about voting is not construed as advocacy for or against any particular candidate, party or issue. 

The UW-Madison voter ID card will be clearly marked “VOTER IDENTIFICATION.” The IDs include the student’s signature and expire two years from the issuance date in compliance with a new state voting law. The UW–Madison voter ID cards will not be valid for any other purpose or service on the campus.

Students who are Wisconsin residents and have a state-issued driver’s license or identification cards or a passport are able to vote using those forms of identification and do not need the UW–Madison voter ID, but can obtain one if they choose.

Students attending UW–Madison are eligible to vote in Wisconsin provided they are a U.S. citizen, will be 18 years of age on or before the date of the election, and have been a resident of Wisconsin for at least 28 consecutive days prior to election day.

Students using the UW–Madison issued voter IDs are also required to present proof of enrollment at the polls. The university has prepared a self-service Enrollment Verification letter which is accessible from the Student Center at MyUW. Students may also use the form as proof of residence for voter registration.

The first election in which the new requirements will be enforced is the Feb. 21 spring primary. Other scheduled election dates this year include the spring general election on April 3, the fall primary election on Aug. 14, and the fall general election on Nov. 6.