wisconsin capitol
Press Release
May 24, 2011

One Wisconsin Now Statements on Walker Signing Voter Suppression Bill

Bill May Deny Legal Voters Access to the Franchise

MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements regarding Gov. Scott Walker’s planned signing of the nation’s most restrictive voter identification bill.

“We believe Wisconsin’s law is overly burdensome on voters and that the state is simply unequipped to administer this law and ensure legal voters will not be disenfranchised or subject to a poll tax. We continue to confer with legal counsel about what potential legal challenges can be made against Gov. Walker’s voter suppression bill.”

Facts on 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 only 11 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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