Alert
Close

Top the Treasure Hunt leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

Highlights

Open
AARP Real Possibilities

 

FREE FUN!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

MOST POPULAR

Viewed

Wisconsin

Photo ID Law's Impact

180,000 older residents lack voter ID

Lorraine Hawkinson, worries that the strict voter ID law will prevent older people from voting.

Lorraine Hawkinson, 88, a longtime political activist, reads the newspaper to keep up with the issues. She worries that the strict voter ID law will prevent older people from voting. — Photo by Narayan Mahon/Wonderful Machine

Longtime political activist Lorraine Hawkinson, 88, has been worrying a lot since Wisconsin adopted a strict voter ID law (PDF).

Starting next year, voters will have to present a government-issued photo identification card in order to cast a ballot. Acceptable IDs include a driver's license or a non-driver ID card issued by the state Division of Motor Vehicles. Other forms of identification include a U.S. passport or an ID card issued by the U.S. military or a federally recognized Indian tribe.

See also: Indiana's top court refuses to strike down voter photo ID law.

Hawkinson, who lives in a farmhouse in Dunn, no longer drives, so she plans to hire someone to drive her the 20 miles from her home to Madison, where she'll apply for an ID card. It's inconvenient, she said, but she's concerned that many other Wisconsinites will face a greater burden.

"People in our rural counties might live 40, 50 miles or more from their nearest motor vehicle office," she said, "and many are only open a few hours a week — if that."

The legislature set aside money for the DMV to provide driver's license and ID card services for at least 20 hours a week in all 72 counties — only 30 of them have it now. But the new DMV facilities will not open until late January. Photo IDs will be required for the primary elections in February 2012.

Nancy Riggs, 79, of Fort Atkinson, is also worried about the law's impact. "I'm so afraid this law could affect the voting rights of people my age and older," she said. "Especially those who are frail and homebound or live far from a motor vehicle office."

A 2005 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee estimated that nearly 180,000 Wisconsinites 65 and older do not have a driver's license or official photo ID.

Wisconsin is one of seven states — up from two at the beginning of this year — that require voters to show a photo ID. Seven other states ask for a photo ID but permit people to vote if they have certain other documents. In 16 states, voters must show some proof of identity such as a utility bill that includes the voter's name and address.

Next: Straight-party ticket voting no longer allowed. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members save 20% on digital hearing aids with AARP® Hearing Care Program from HearUSA.

AARP Discounts on Consumer Cellular Phones and Plans

Members save 5% on monthly service and usage charges with Consumer Cellular.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can locate discounts via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder mobile app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.