MADISON, Wis. — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Governor Scott Walker has fired Steve Krieser, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the state Department of Transportation (DOT), for a stunningly racist Facebook rant in which he said of undocumented people in the US, “You may see Jesus when you look at them, I see Satan.” However, the Walker aide was not fired or disciplined after issuing a directive in 2011 that would have made it more difficult for legal, low–income Wisconsin voters to cast a ballot in elections under a GOP passed voter ID law.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “Scott Walker is trying to pose for holy Facebook selfies by firing a top aide for a disgustingly racist rant. But this same aide was kept on for two years after it was revealed he took the initiative to try to make it harder for hundreds of thousands of legal Wisconsin voters, many of whom are minorities, to vote.”
In 2011, after the Republican legislature passed and Governor Walker signed a photo ID law for voting, Krieser issued a directive to DOT employees to refrain from actively informing the public about their ability to receive a free identification card for the purposes of voting.
“The burden of Gov. Walker and the Republicans’ ID requirement would have fallen most heavily on the elderly and minority voters in Wisconsin that lacked the required state documentation. Under Krieser’s directive, the voter ID law would have been an even more onerous, racist poll tax on hundreds of thousands of legal Wisconsin voters,” Ross said.
According to a study by the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, over 178,000 elderly Wisconsinites, 55 percent of African American men, 49 percent of African American women, 46 percent of Hispanic men and 59 percent of Hispanic women did not have a state issued identification card that would have necessary for voting under the voter ID law. Among African American men aged 18–24, over 70 percent could be disenfranchised by the law.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law is currently enjoined from enforcement by a state circuit court judge that found the law violated the constitutional right to vote. One Wisconsin Now’s partner organization, One Wisconsin Institute, filed an amicus brief with the court that outlines the lack of access to Department of Motor Vehicle offices to obtain state ID’s, and the lack of voting impropriety in Wisconsin.
Ross concluded, “As Scott Walker eyes national political office, a racist Facebook rant gets a top aide fired. But one need look no further than when Gov. Walker turned a blind eye as the same aide was directing the effort to impose a state poll tax to see that this is nothing more than political posturing.”