Steve Pacewicz, a veteran, hasn’t had stable housing in a while. At times, his truck was his home. He needs his vehicle to do the odd jobs that he relies on for income. When he lost his Wisconsin driver’s license, he ordered a duplicate but the request was lost in the DMV system.
Steve contacted VoteRiders’ Hotline (844-33-VTRID) because he wanted to vote in the 2016 Wisconsin primary election but didn’t have the $14 needed to re-apply for his driver’s license. Steve’s only other option was surrendering his driving privileges in exchange for a free non-driver’s ID.
“I don’t have much in this world, but I know I’ve got rights. I have to trade my driving privileges for my right to vote? That doesn’t make any sense. Isn’t that kind of like Jim Crow laws? The new version?”
Wisconsin, like some other states with voter ID laws, will provide a free non-driver’s ID to vote. But they will not allow a voter to have both a non-driver’s ID and a driver’s license. Low-income voters who rely on their vehicles because of their jobs or because they live in an area without public transportation have to make a choice.
In Steve’s case, as in many others, VoteRiders paid the fee for his duplicate license so that he was able to vote.
For more on Steve's story, see "Desperate Times for Democracy in Wisconsin" on MSNBC by correspondent Zachary Roth.