UW–Madison has won a national award for developing an innovative method of providing voter ID to students during the 2020 presidential election.
The Students Learn Students Vote Coalition, a national nonpartisan network dedicated to increasing college student voter participation, presented the university with a 2020 Students Learn Students Vote Award on Dec. 7 for removing barriers and increasing access to voting.
UW–Madison has traditionally provided a plastic voter ID card to students who do not have another valid form of ID for voting, such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, state ID, U.S. passport or other federal ID. With the global pandemic posing challenges for ID distribution, the university pulled together campus partners to create a website, voterid.wisc.edu, where students can download an electronic version of the ID to be printed, signed and presented at the polls. In addition, the university provided computers and printers at campus polling places for students to download and print the ID. More than 130 students and staff members volunteered to work a total of 362 one-hour slots to help students print the IDs at the polling places.
In all, 2,733 students were able to access the voter ID website to obtain their cards. On Election Day alone, 471 cards were issued to students. The project partners were the Wiscard Office, Department of Information Technology, University Relations, the Office of Legal Affairs, and the Morgridge Center for Public Service.
“Voting is critical to our democracy and we are committed to providing students with the tools and information they need to participate successfully,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “I congratulate the many individuals who came together to make this project a success.”