Fact Check

Wisconsin Allows Noncitizens to Get IDs to Vote?

We found details about the process by which a person can obtain a voting ID in Wisconsin.

Published April 15, 2024

 (screen capture/@conservativean2.0)
Image courtesy of screen capture/@conservativean2.0
In April 2024, social media posts accurately stated that the state of Wisconsin gives IDs to noncitizens so they can vote.

On April 12, 2024, a post on X (formerly Twitter) shared a video with a comment suggesting that undocumented immigrants may be able to obtain a "free ID" in Wisconsin in order to vote (archived):

2024 Will Be The Most Rigged Election In History

Illegal Migrants Being Sent to Wisconsin & on Their Website it Says "Free ID for voting"

"Get an ID for voting even if you do not have the documentation to get a regular Wisconsin ID"

"This is on Wisconsin. Gov's website"

"I'm going to show you something else. Let's really look at number three here. If you don't have all or any of these, you can still get an ID for voting. I'm willing to bet that the blue people are giving them money, hundreds, to vote blue. If this isn't election interference that's going on in the United States right now, and this is one state, you can look this up, Wisconsin .com"

"Wake up"

This post had garnered more than 1.2 million views and 15,600 likes and had been reshared more than 11,000 times, as of this writing.

Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles

We found the webpage mentioned in the original post and video. It is part of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website and describes the process by which a person residing in Wisconsin can request an ID solely for the purpose of voting if they do not have a driver's license or an ID card. The voting ID is free and temporary. 

The DOT requires a petitioner to go to their local Department of Motor Vehicles with one or more documents to prove date of birth, name, identity, residency in Wisconsin and citizenship status. These include a birth certificate, Social Security card or a certificate of naturalization.

If the person has none of these documents, they may still be able to obtain a temporary voting ID. As the viral post said, the WI-DOT page read:

If you don't have all or any of these, you can still get an ID for voting. Just bring what you have to the DMV, fill out two forms (form MV3004, and form MV3012), and you will get a photo ID document in the mail that you can use in time for voting. Here is a sample of the document you'll be receiving.

The language of this paragraph appeared to promise that anyone who fills these forms can obtain a voting ID. Given that U.S. law states that "non-citizens, including permanent legal residents, cannot vote in federal, state, and most local elections," we sought more details about the way the WI-DOT handles these petitions.

The Forms

We downloaded the forms and read them closely. 

Form MV3004 is the standard application for any ID in Wisconsin. With it, a person can apply to obtain a regular ID or a free ID made specifically for voting. Any applicant must fill it and print it, and take it to the DMV with relevant documents to prove their identity.

Form MV3012 applies only to people who do not have documents to prove their identity, and it serves to help people obtain a free ID. It is a petition form that opens a separate process. The details provided in it "facilitate the document search process for United States-born citizens" or help "verify citizenship status with the Department of Homeland Security."

The instructions in form MV3012 indicate that the staff at the WI-DOT will research the information provided by the petitioner and applicant in order to locate the documents that can confirm their identity and citizenship status so as to deliver an ID for the purpose of voting. In other words, it suggests that the WI-DOT agrees to take on the burden of searching for the information.

We emailed the office of public affairs at the WI-DOT to ask whether they could provide more clarification. They confirmed what we had understood based on the instructions outlined in form MV3012 (emphasis ours):

If a customer does not have documentation to prove one of those prior categories, that person can still complete the MV3004 application and the MV3012 petition and we would work with them to obtain documentation needed to issue the ID card.

On the MV3004, a person seeking an ID for voting purposes must certify that they are a U.S. citizen, will be at least 18 years of age by the next election, and they require the ID for voting, and that this statement is under penalty of perjury. The person would be mailed a temporary photo identification receipt that could be used as proof of ID at the polls.

Contradicting the viral post's assertion that Wisconsin would just hand out free IDs to "illegal immigrants," the WI-DOT verifies the information itself in order to guarantee that anyone who has a right to vote can do so. This process is unusual in that the department takes it upon itself to do the information-gathering, but it may be crucial for some voters — including those who live in poverty, as many localities charge a fee to deliver copies of birth certificates, for example. 


Who Can and Cannot Vote | USAGov. https://www.usa.gov/who-can-vote. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Media Contacts. https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/about-wisdot/newsroom/media/contacts.aspx. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Wisconsin DMV Official Government Site - Doc. Verification Petition Process for a WI ID Card... https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/dmv/license-drvs/how-to-apply/petition-process.aspx. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Anna Rascouët-Paz is based in Brooklyn, fluent in numerous languages and specializes in science and economic topics.