After not being allowed to vote yesterday morning, I want to report from the Wisconsin front lines of the draconian voting laws that Republicans have been pushing through state legislatures across the country. For all the focus on stringent requirements to show ID in order to vote, these are not the only measures that impose new limits on voting. States are also curtailing provisions for early voting prior to election day.
Which brings me to my own story. Aside from tomorrow’s Wisconsin presidential primary, there are important local elections in my main home community of Stevens Point. I say “main home” because the office where I work is 300 miles away in Eastern Iowa. With this commute, I am normally out of town during the work week. The recent trend — more accurately “until-recent” — of expanded early voting has helped make sure I can vote despite my nomadic lifestyle. For election days when I’m not home, the clerk’s office at city hall has served as my polling place.
Until this morning, that is. Before heading to Iowa, I stopped off at city hall when it opened at 7:30 and found out that it was too late to vote. The staff told me that state law now closed off my chance to vote on the day before the election. Anyone who has followed these voter laws knows that their stated purpose of protecting against voter fraud — which no one has been able to document — is just a cover story for trying to skew turnout toward the more affluent. The restrictions on early voting strain the credibility of so-called “ballot integrity” even more than the ID requirements. Someone please tell me exactly how it guards against fraud to stop me from voting on Monday morning, rather than Tuesday morning.