Alex Ault had this Data Dive in Democracy Docket. Here is an excerpt:
At first blush, “freedom” seems like a funny word to associate with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). But for most Wisconsinites, the DMV is the gateway to the freedom to vote, not just to the freedom of the open road.
Since 2011, when Wisconsin passed one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, the DMV has become the primary place where Wisconsinites can get the photo ID needed to cast a ballot. But a new report by All Voting is Local, in partnership with the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, shows that when people lack access to DMV services, they lack access to the ID they need to be heard at the polls.
Here’s the problem: Wisconsin’s 2011 photo ID law centered the DMV as the primary place to get a photo ID, but did nothing to fix glaring gaps in DMV services. Those gaps particularly affect Black and brown voters and are especially cumbersome for non-drivers. The report shows that DMV service centers often provide limited hours in locations that are difficult to reach without a car, and that access to transportation is a major barrier, especially ADA-accessible transportation. That results in a deliberate barrier to the ballot for the more than a quarter of residents (29%) who are non-drivers, according to data that the report’s authors received from Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation (WisDOT). For a non-driver living in Kenosha for example, the nearest DMV service center with Saturday hours is in Greendale. To get there, it could take nearly three hours, three buses, 74 bus stops, and $19 — each way. And because of limited Saturday hours, you would have to navigate that whole journey to arrive before it closes at noon.