September 7, 2011

 

Department of Transportation,

Secretary Gottlieb

P O Box 7910

Madison, WI  53707-7910

 

Secretary Gottlieb,

It has been reported in the Capital Times, that in a memo from Steve Krieser, Department of Transportation (DOT) staff have been instructed not to help eligible citizens obtain a free, state issued identification card for purposes of voting. I find this action unacceptable and paramount to a “bait and switch” tactic. I have no doubt that the good people working the front desks at the Department of Transportation will do all they can to assist each and every Wisconsin citizen every time they come to the counter. That has certainly been my experience.

Helping people obtain a free ID card to vote should be no different than any other service the Department of Transportation offers as an agent of the people of this state. This is a job that has been assigned to your Department by the Legislature and one we expect you to do without prejudice.  Employees with the DOT, providing a service to the state, should have fear of workplace reprimand because of that helpful service. It is estimated by the AARP that 178,000 senior citizens in Wisconsin do not have a valid identification required under this bill.

Countless people who will come to the front window seeking an ID to vote have not had a DOT issued identification for years; they simply will not be the same consumers who are familiar with the DMV counter system or licensing system.

Please assure the Legislature that your Department will do the job we have tasked and provided funds to be completed, regardless of the beliefs and partisan affiliations of your senior staff. Additionally, I would like assurances that counter staff or any other DOT employees will not face reprimand if they provide service to our taxpaying citizens in the course of doing their jobs. Finally, I would like a report to the Legislature on how many citizens have asked for a state issue ID since the law was enacted – with delineation for those that received that ID for free and those that paid. I appreciate your time and service to the state; please let me know if you have any questions in the course of fulfilling this request.

Sincerely,

JON ERPENBACH

State Senator,

27th District