Milwaukee Co.: 5,000 free birth certificates for voter IDs

MILWAUKEE -- The new Voter ID Law will require anyone who would like to vote in an election this year to provide a proper photo ID at the polls. Voter IDs can be obtained for free from the DMV, and now, Milwaukee County is giving away 5,000 free birth certificates, which are required to obtain an ID, to help cover the $20 cost for those who'd like to vote. In addition, some officials want to make sure those who are denied ballots on Election Day due to not having a proper ID are tracked.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs appeared before the Milwaukee Common Council's Judiciary and Legislation Committee Monday, to propose a resolution requiring the reporting of rejected ballots within 30 days, instead of 60. Act 23 is also known as Voter ID Law, which is getting increased attention ahead of this year's elections.

Coggs' resolution would include adding to Act 23 the reporting of anyone denied a ballot on Election Day, due to not having a proper voter ID.

Sue Edman is the executive director of the City of Milwaukee's Election Commission. She explains that this week, about 1,000 veteran poll workers are finishing training on the new voter ID requirements, including the portion that requires tracking those who are prevented from voting because of the new regulations. "We are required to train our poll workers every two years, and it just so happens that this is the year we have to train our poll workers, so it
worked out very well for us. We have instructed our poll workers that every time they have a case where someone cannot vote, they should immediately call their chief inspector over. The chief inspector will interview the elector, and just document their name, address, the ward they live in, and the reason they are unable to vote," Edman said.

Voters can get an ID for voting for free from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV just recently announced a new online service, where voters can request an ID online, saving themselves a visit ot the DMV service center. The DMV does require a valid birth certificate in order to get an ID, which costs $20. Out of concern the cost could keep people from getting the ID necessary to vote, Milwaukee County is offering help.

John La Fave is the register of deeds for Milwaukee County. He says Milwaukee County has allocated $75,000 to cover the state's fees for obtaining birth certificates. "The County Board has authorized expenditures that will allow us to give away 5,000 birth certificates. It's one per person, and it's meant for people who need a record in order to get a driver's license, or state ID card so they can vote," La Fave said.

La Fave says Milwaukee County began offering to cover birth record fees on January 3rd.

For more information on the new voter ID requirement, visit Milwaukee County's website.