Leibham Admits Voter ID Bill Will Cost Big Money

Partisan Election Ploy Creates No Private Sector Jobs, Increases State Deficit

“That will potentially cost some additional money to the state and to state taxpayers…” [Sen. Leibham, WUWM News, 1/12/2011]

MADISON, Wis. — State Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) admitted to reporters the Republican Voter ID bill will deepen Wisconsin’s $3.3 billion budget deficit. Leibham has refused to give Wisconsin a total cost for this plan, nor has he provided evidence of wide-spread voting irregularity that would warrant this restriction on the right to vote.

“Sen. Joe Leibham has let the cat out of the bag. This bill will deepen the budget deficit and he hasn’t shown one private sector job it will create,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Sen. Leibham and his fellow Republicans promised job creation and reducing the state’s $3.3 billion deficit were their top priorities and this breaks both of those.”

Leibham admitted the state will have to increase the number of Department of Motor Vehicle offices and the hours of operation during an interview on WUWM radio yesterday. The state biennial budget for DMVs in Wisconsin is currently $70 million. In order to provide similar access citizens have in the state of Indiana, where the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that state’s photo ID bill, Wisconsin’s DMV budget could increase by 50 percent.

Currently, Wisconsin has limited access to DMVs, compared to Indiana. An analysis by One Wisconsin Now showed:

  • 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.

Wisconsin and Indiana have similar voting age populations, but Wisconsin is 50 percent larger geographically than Indiana. Indiana not only provides its residents 50 percent more DMV offices than Wisconsin has, but also nearly three times the total hours these facilities are open. When Indiana’s voter ID law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, 99 percent of Indiana’s voting age population already had the necessary photo identification.

“Sen. Leibham has taken an important step in the need to come clean to Wisconsin that the Voter ID bill is going to add potentially tens of millions of dollars to the state’s $3.3 billion budget deficit,” said Ross. “Common sense tells Wisconsin this bill will add no jobs and is just a partisan effort to rig elections for Sen. Leibham’s string-pullers in the Republican Party.”

A two-year investigation of alleged voter impropriety by Attorney General JB Van Hollen resulted in charges brought against 11 potentially improper votes in November 2008 out of 2.96 million cast. A similar investigation by Bush-appointee and then-U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic concluded there was no evidence of wide-spread voter irregularity.

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