Written by LWV Dane County member Ingrid Rothe, Coalition Co-Chair
Faced with the impending implementation of Wisconsin’s Voter ID law in 2016, the LWV-Dane County joined with the Dane County Branch of the NAACP to form the Dane County Voter ID Coalition. The founding organizations were soon joined by other organizations, including several Dane County neighborhood organizations, VoteRiders, the Wisconsin ACLU, the Madison YWCA, the Madison Urban League and the South Central Federation of Labor. Individuals can also join; there is no charge for either organizations or individuals, but all must sign a statement agreeing to remain non-partisan while working with the Coalition.
The Coalition was initially focused primarily on identifying people who lacked an acceptable ID for voting, and assisting them to obtain one. More recently, the Coalition has expanded its mission to include assistance with registration, since that has also become more difficult. To accomplish all this, we provide experts for “tabling” at events, fairs and fests organized by others; and help assist organizations that work with individuals likely lacking an ID to incorporate into their standard workflow the discussion of voter ID as well as assistance in obtaining an ID. The Coalition has partnered with the Dane County Clerk and Union Cab to provide free rides to the DMV (and, when requested, assistance while at the DMV). The Coalition organizes events, such as “Checking Out Voting,” in conjunction with Madison public libraries. The Coalition maintains a telephone hotline (608-285-2141), which anyone can call for information or assistance. The hotline number is now being advertised statewide, and Coalition volunteers refer calls from outside Dane County to local contacts.
The Coalition provides several important benefits: 1) the Coalition provides a way for people and organizations doing this kind of voting work to coordinate their efforts, avoid duplication, and minimize expenses; 2) by working closely with the Clerks the Coalition can help to promote a uniform standard for training for our volunteers, which is especially important since the loss of SRDs; 3) Coalition volunteers are exposed to the League of Women Voters and the NAACP and may also join the LWV and NAACP.
Check out the Coalition’s website at http://www.voteridwisconsin.org/ For more information about the structure of the Coalition and its relationship to the League, please contact Ingrid Rothe, Co-Chair, at irothe69 [at] gmail.com ().