MADISON, Wis. — The state Department of Transportation wants to manufacture cheaper IDs that could be used only for voting.
Wisconsin law requires DOT to give people free photo IDs for voting. The 2017-19 budget request the agency submitted to Gov. Scott Walker last week notes giving out free IDs has resulted in fewer people paying the $28 fee for an ID card, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/2cPc4R2 ).
Between fiscal year 2010 — the last full year before free IDs were offered — and fiscal year 2015, DOT saw its revenue from photo IDs drop from $3.2 million to $437,000.
DOT officials included a proposal in the budget plan to stamp free IDs with “voting purposes only” and give those IDs fewer standard security features. The agency would spend $2.60 to produce each card, 50 cents less than the $3.10 it spends on each current photo ID card.
The agency estimates about 30 percent of applicants would pay the $28 for the higher-end, multi-purpose IDs, which would generate about $969,000 for the agency’s road building and maintenance fund over the two-year budget. The agency would have to spend $164,000 to modify its computer systems to handle the voting-only cards.
The budget proposal doesn’t say how the agency would enforce restrictions on how the free voting-only IDs could be used.
Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force, told the newspaper that free IDs have helped poor people who need them for a wide range of purposes, such as proving their identity when they pick up their children from day care.
“The only people who get hurt in this are poor people who don’t have $28,” she said. “The government is supposed to be there to help us.”
Walker can choose to include the plan, modify it or discard it when he crafts his executive budget. His spokesman didn’t immediately respond to messages from the Journal Sentinel or The Associated Press.
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com