Voter ID Education Campaign Funding: Throwing Good Money After Bad Policy

Spending $250,000 Doesn’t Change Fact Legal Voters Disenfranchised by GOP Effort to Manipulate the Rules on Voting for Their Advantage

MADISON, Wis. — The Joint Committee on Finance today considered a request from the Government Accountability Board to spend $250,000 on an “educational campaign” about the voter ID law enacted by Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-controlled legislature.

One Wisconsin Institute is the lead plaintiff on a federal lawsuit, One Wisconsin Institute et. al. v. Gerald Nichol et. al., arguing that the challenged voting restrictions, including voter ID, adopted by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature 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.

Over the course of the two-week trial, testimony from a Republican insider revealed that, in their private deliberations, GOP state Senators were “giddy” over the prospects of passing a law they believed would discourage voting and help them win elections. The witness, under oath, testified current Republican Senate President Mary Lazich “told her colleagues to consider its impact in the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and the state’s college campuses.”

The state offices of Republican Senators named in the courtroom refused comment when contacted by media.

Expert testimony showed that the voter ID law had the effect of discouraging electoral participation among targeted groups. Numerous witnesses and additional information provided by plaintiffs showed how actual legal voters were unable to obtain an ID now required to vote.

The following are the comments of One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross:

“The voter ID law was reinstated more than a year ago, and two statewide elections have been held since then. Spending $250,000 to educate people about a law that has and continues to deny the franchise to voters is throwing good money after bad policy. It is too little and too late for the 2016 general election and it won’t change the outcome for eligible voters who have, and will continue to be, unable to have their voices heard in our elections because of this law.

“The voter ID law is the centerpiece of a five year long comprehensive, sustained attack on voting rights perpetrated by Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature. At the time, they were ‘giddy’ about passing a voter ID law they believed would give them a partisan political advantage.”

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