Wisconsin Department of Transportation Must Fulfill Role in Our Democracy

MILWAUKEE – All Voting is Local Wisconsin State Director Shauntay Nelson issued the following statement on the need for the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to expand DMV services to provide critical support to voters who need access to a state-issued driver’s license or photo ID with which they can vote. 

“Wisconsin’s DOT must do more to make it easier for voters to obtain ID necessary to cast a ballot. In 2016, we saw that Wisconsin’s photo ID law led to barriers to the ballot for thousands of Wisconsinites, particularly for people of color, students, people with disabilities, and older voters. In Dane and Milwaukee Counties alone, research indicates that the photo ID law impacted an estimated 1 in 4 Black voters. Many of these barriers were related to insufficient access to DMV services, which is the primary space through which Wisconsinites can get a State driver’s license or free photo ID for voting. 

“DMV service hours must be more accessible for working Wisconsinites, especially those disproportionately affected by restrictive operating hours and limited locations. The DOT must fully reopen the Milwaukee Downtown service center and expand Saturday service hours across the state. Voters should not have to choose between their right to vote and earning a living. Expansion of DOT services increases access to the ballot where everyone’s voices can be heard.” 

Background: On September 1, the State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced plans to temporarily expand DMV services in Madison. It also announced the partial reopening of Milwaukee’s Downtown service center, which had previously closed due to COVID-19. The new temporary location in Madison at 1810 South Park Street will operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through December 29, 2020. The partially reopened downtown service center in Milwaukee at 819 N. 6th Street will only offer services on Wednesdays in October from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday, October 31 from 8:30 a.m. to noon.