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State Lawmakers Look To Stop Wisconsin Counties From Issuing Photo IDs

County Officials Say Cards Help Law Enforcement, Bill Backers Cite Voter Fraud Concerns

AP Photos/Rogelio V. Solis

A proposal to limit the ability of county governments to issue photo ID cards to their residents is facing stiff opposition from immigrant rights advocates in Milwaukee.

The bill would throw a wrench into Milwaukee county’s plan to issue photo IDs that officials hope will help the homeless, undocumented immigrants, and victims of domestic violence in dealing with local enforcement.

Tony Gibart, of End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, said the limits the bill imposes threatens the safety of victims.

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“We don’t want someone who is exposed to severe forms of violence to have to choose between calling police and possibly being removed from this country,” Gibart said.

But the bill’s supporters say the state already provides free IDs to those who need them and adding new ones will increase the chance for voter fraud.

Cities would still be allowed to issue IDs as long as they are clearly marked as not valid for voting.

At a hearing on the bill this week, Ardis Cerny, of Pewaukee, said the that requirement is essential.

“This will be used for voting unless this bill goes through,” Cerny said. “I am tired of having my civil right to have my vote count denied me.”

County officials contend the proposed IDs aren’t meant to be used for voting.

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