Yesterday investigators from the Milwaukee Police Department issued a report on voting in Milwaukee in 2004. It is important to note that Police Chief Edward Flynn said that the report’s findings are the views of the investigators, and the department would not take a stand on the policy issues. Most of the report focused on overwhelmed, and under trained poll workers and the clerical errors that resulted. Many of the issues have been resolved as evidenced by the few problems observed during this month’s primary election that had very large turnout. Even though conservatives are now trying to misuse it, the report did not prove that there was widespread voter fraud in Milwaukee. In fact, even though their main claim in 2004 was of alleged double voting, that issue was not really addressed in the report.
The big problem with the report is the extreme remedy that is proposed to solve a problem that has since been addressed. The report suggests the end of same day voter registration and a voter ID requirement. Once again, Governor Doyle stood strong for voter protection saying, ‘I don’t like either of those ideas and I’m not sure why the Milwaukee Police Department should be the one deciding what the voting policy is of the state of Wisconsin.’ The report’s proposals have been repeatedly proven to drive down voter participation and disenfranchise specific groups of legal voters. Our high levels of voter turn out are the envy of most states in the country. Why would we take action to lower those numbers? Particularly, when the most cited issues in the report have already been successfully addressed.