wisconsin capitol
Press Release
January 18, 2012

Case to Continue in Fight Against Poll Tax Scheme

Judge Sides Against Walker on Motion to Dismiss; Case to Continue in Fight Against Poll Tax Scheme

MADISON, Wis. — A Dane County Judge allowed to continue a lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker’s voter identification bill, that experts say is both not needed and could lead to legal voters being disenfranchised or subject to a de facto poll tax.

“Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to keep legal voters from exercising their right to hold him accountable must be stopped,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Too many people fought to hard and too long to let partisan political hacks take away the constitutional right to the franchise in Wisconsin.”

Facts on 2011 Act 23, the Voter ID Bill:

The bill originally was based on Indiana’s Voter ID Bill. According to the Supreme Court case upholding Indiana’s Voter ID bill, the lower court found, “99 percent of Indiana’s voting age population already possesses the necessary photo identification to vote under the requirements.” The Supreme Court concluded that Indiana’s law was Constitutional, specifically because so few Indianans were without the state-issued photo identification.

Wisconsin’s population is substantially less likely to have a state-issued identification. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study showed that the following numbers about those without state-issued photo identification and who would need to obtain one under the Wisconsin Voter ID bill:

  • Over 178,000 elderly Wisconsinites
  • 17 percent of white men and women
  • 55 percent of African American men and 49 percent of African American women
  • 46 percent of Hispanic men and 59 percent of Hispanic women
  • 78 percent of African American men age 18-24 and 66 percent of African American women age 18-24

[Driver License Status of the Voting Age Population in Wisconsin, 6/05]

Additional statistics about Wisconsin lack of accessible DMVs compared to Indiana:

  • Twenty-six percent of Wisconsin’s 91 DMVs are open one day a month or less, while none of Indiana’s are open less than 100 days a year and nearly all are open over 250 days a year.
  • Wisconsin has only one DMV with weekend hours, while Indiana has 124 offices with weekend hours.
  • Three Wisconsin counties have no DMVs, no Indiana county is without a DMV.
  • Over half of Wisconsin’s 91 DMVs are open on a part-time basis, while Indiana provides full-time DMVs in every county.

Republican claims of widespread voter irregularity have long been debunked. After a two-year investigation, Republican Attorney General JB Van Hollen has found less than 20 potentially-improper votes cast out of nearly 3 million votes in 2008. Former Wisconsin U.S. Attorney under George W. Bush, Steve Biskupic concluded after a similar investigation there was no widespread voter fraud. The majority of charges in all of these cases involved felons who were technically ineligible to vote.

# # #

One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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