Suppressing the student vote? New residency rules could affect Wisconsin’s recall election
Judith Davidoff on Wednesday 05/16/2012 1:10 pm

The voter ID law passed last spring by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature was widely criticized for requiring that voters show a driver’s license or other form of photo identification at the polls. These provisions are now under two court injunctions by judges who found that the photo ID requirements likely discriminate against minorities, the poor and the elderly.

Meanwhile, it is the bill’s new residency requirements, largely lost in the controversy over photo ID, that are much more likely to keep students away from the polls in the upcoming June 5 recall elections for governor, lieutenant governor and four state Senate seats. Turnout among students, a voting bloc traditionally thought to favor Democrats, was already low in the May 8 recall primary.

The new rules require that voters live at an address for 28 days before being eligible to vote. Dorm leases for 6,900 students at UW-Madison end May 20, and many of the other students living off campus will leave for the summer around the same time. Do the math and the dilemma is clear: There is no time to reestablish residency to vote June 5.

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