By Jon Sherman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Voting Rights Project
Ruthelle Frank, a resident of Brokaw, Wisconsin since her birth in 1927, has none of the accepted forms of photo ID under Wisconsin’s photo ID law which goes into effect at the February primary election. In order to get a state ID card, she needs to prove citizenship, but since she was born at home, she has never had a birth certificate. The state Register of Deeds, however, does have a record of her birth and can produce a birth certificate at a $20 cost. There’s one problem though — her maiden name (Wedepohl) is misspelled in the record. That record can only be amended by legal proceeding, and the combined fees will run Ruthelle potentially upwards of $200. The state will not waive any of these fees, and under the new law, if she cannot obtain a state ID card, Ruthelle will be sent away from the polls.