Department of Motor Vehicle Chief’s Testimony in Federal Voting Rights Trial Reveals Troubling Racial Disparity in Voter ID Law

Majority of Those Receiving Free Voter ID Are Minorities, Twenty Percent of Applicants Still Without Document Now Required to Vote

MADISON, Wis. — In testimony today in the federal voting rights trial One Wisconsin Institute et. al., v. Gerald Nichol et. al., a top Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) staffer testified about troubling racial disparities among those applying for a free voter ID and how numerous applicants have not received an ID. One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross said the statistics show that the state voter ID law, the centerpiece of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican legislature’s five year effort to manipulate the rules on voting, is working as intended, disproportionately increasing the burden for electoral participation on minorities in Wisconsin.

“As intended, Gov. Walker and the Republicans in control of the legislature have put the burden of their voter ID law most heavily on minority voters. The DMV’s own statistics presented to the court today show that beyond a doubt,” commented Ross. “And just as troubling is how legal voters are losing their vote while mired in a bureaucratic morass.”

Kristina Boardman, Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles Administrator, testified that based on their own statistics from mid-September 2014 through mid-May 2016, of those applying for a free voter ID over fifty percent have gone to African Americans and Hispanics. In addition, one in five of those applying through the ID petition process (IDPP) have not yet been approved for the ID they now need to cast a ballot.

One Wisconsin Institute’s lawsuit is challenging voting restrictions adopted by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican controlled legislature over the last five years arguing that the changes were meant to and have the effect of making it more difficult to vote in Wisconsin, especially for minorities, young people, and voters who tend to support Democratic candidates.

Ross concluded, “Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature created a bureaucratic labyrinth designed to both deny legal voters the ID cards they need and to give themselves an unfair partisan advantage. Their actions subvert democracy and violate federal law.”

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