Wisconsin Supreme Court
Constitutional Law — photo identification
Requiring photo identification to vote does not violate the Wisconsin Constitution.
“Plaintiffs produced evidence at trial that, in the course of obtaining a DOT photo identification card for voting, government agencies charged them fees to obtain supporting documents for their applications. A common example is a birth certificate, which is satisfactory proof of name, date of birth and citizenship, and can cost $20 to obtain. E.g., Wis. Stat. § 69.22(1)(a) and (c). The requirement for such documents arose under Wisconsin administrative rules that implement Act 23. E.g., Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a).”
“In order to resolve the conflict between Act 23 and Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a), we interpret the administrative rules and explain that the discretion of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administrators must be exercised in a constitutionally sufficient manner. Such exercise of discretion requires the issuance of DOT photo identification cards for voting without requiring documents for which an elector must pay a fee to a government agency. See Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) and (c) (permitting issuance of DOT photo identification cards for voting without the documents described in § Trans 102.15(3)(a)). Our conclusion employs a saving construction of § Trans 102.15(3)(b), conforms to Act 23’s mandate and relieves a severe burden on the right to vote that would otherwise exist. Because with a saving construction of § Trans 102.15(3)(b) Act 23 does not place a severe burden on the right to vote, we apply rational basis scrutiny and conclude that Act 23 is reasonably related to the State’s significant interests.”
Attorneys: For Appellant: Lazar, Maria S., Madison; Kawski, Clayton Patrick, Madison; For Respondent: Sumara, B. Michele, Milwaukee; Halstead, Aaron N., Madison; Saks, Richard, Milwaukee