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Student Voter ID

Student IDs as Voter ID

Fair Elections Center and Pines Bach LLP filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s unnecessary requirements for student IDs to qualify as voter ID. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on behalf of Common Cause in Wisconsin and individual plaintiff Ben Quintero.


The lawsuit argued that the student ID requirements are a pointless barrier for casting a ballot in Wisconsin. Most students are newly registered voters and new to the voting process. These unnecessary requirements on student IDs can confuse and deter these new voters rather than making elections more accessible for them. The lawsuit is challenging specific student ID requirements, not the voter ID law as a whole.


Wisconsin’s current voter ID law singles out student voters, requiring information election and poll workers do not need or use if the voter presents a college or university photo ID when they cast a ballot. Current law allows Wisconsin students to use their campus photo ID if it contains their name, photo, issuance date, an expiration date not more than two years after the issuance date, and the student’s signature.  Students must also show proof of current enrollment, such as an enrollment verification letter or tuition fee receipt. This proof of enrollment requirement makes issuance and expiration dates unnecessary and irrational for student ID cards, and other forms of accepted ID do not have expiration dates and are indefinitely valid.


The lawsuit also claimed the signature requirement is unnecessary. Wisconsin’s voter ID law does not require election officials and poll workers to match the signature on an ID with the voter’s signature on the poll book or voter registration form, and other forms of accepted voter ID, such as Veterans Health Identification Cards and some tribal ID cards, do not contain signatures.


On December 9, 2021, the court granted summary judgment for the State, leaving these requirements in place.


Full Text of the Common Cause v. Thomsen Complaint (4.23.19)

Declaration 1 (4.23.19)

Declaration 2 (4.23.19)

First Amended Complaint (8.21.20)

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