MADISON, Wis. — The latest attempt by legislative Republicans to resuscitate a voter ID law that would potentially disenfranchise an estimated 300,000 legal Wisconsin voters was considered by the Assembly Committee on Campaigns and Elections today. The previous voter ID law enacted by Gov. Walker and the GOP is currently enjoined from enforcement by a state court and is the subject of ongoing federal and state litigation.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross blasted the proposal saying, “Assembly Bill 493 is yet another despicable attempt to find a way to make voting more complicated for seniors, minorities and students. The reality is their unconstitutional voter ID law is not ‘fixable’, and most certainly not by means of this bill.”
In his testimony to the committee Ross noted that Federal Judge Richard Posner, author of a 2007 opinion upholding an Indiana voter ID law, upon which the Wisconsin GOP’s efforts are based, publicly rebuked his decision saying voter ID laws are, ” … now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention.”
An amicus brief from One Wisconsin Institute accepted by the state court as part of the ongoing state litigation notes that voters in Wisconsin have significantly less access to Department of Motor Vehicle offices where IDs are available than Indiana voters. The brief also challenges the notion that voter ID is needed to prevent widespread voting impropriety, as there are very few reported cases of improper voting and no prosecuted instances of voter impersonation in the state.
He commented, “The real fraud in Wisconsin occurs right here in the State Capitol building when politicians attempt to manipulate the rules on voting to gain an unfair partisan political advantage.”
The GOP proposal appears to be a tacit admission that previous effort constituted a poll tax. But the proposed solution, segregating ballots cast by legal voters based on their economic circumstances and authorizing the investigation of these voter’s finances is an open invitation to harassment and intimidation.
Ross concluded, “Our founding fathers created a system in which on Election Day everyone is equal – young or old, rich or poor – because everyone gets one vote and they get to have that vote counted. The voter ID law and this so-called fix undermine that premise. It is shockingly undemocratic and fundamentally Un-American.”