Wisconsin Set To Disenfranchise Thousands On Eve of Recall Elections

One good indication that Wisconsin Republicans are losing the policy battles in the state is the fact that they’ve pushed through a bill that would make it significantly more difficult to vote in the upcoming recall elections.  Democrats managed to delay the measure on Tuesday, but the bill will eventually pass, likely on Thursday.

The law restricts absentee voting, lengthens residency requirements and requires state-issued photo ID at the polls.  The absentee and residency requirements will go into effect before the recall elections, while the photo ID requirements go into effect next year.

Supporters of the measure insist they are necessary to prevent voter fraud.  But those supporters have yet to produce any evidence of widespread voter fraud.  A study of the 2008 election conducted by the Wisconsin Justice Department turned up two instances of “double” voting, six people engaged in voter registration fraud and 11 ex-cons who violated the prohibition on felons voting.

Given the fact that the state is purportedly in the throes of a significant budget crisis, spending millions of dollars on a solution to a non-existent problem is questionable at best.  The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that it will cost at least $5.7 million to implement the law, exclusive of any costs related to litigation challenging the measure.

Instead, proponents of the measure should just call it what it is: An attempt to disenfranchise voters who tend to vote Democratic.  Those groups include students, senior citizens, the disabled and minorities.  That’s because those groups tend to have fewer driver’s licenses and photo ID’s and would be less likely to make the additional trip to secure the required identification.

The first of the recall elections are scheduled for July 12.  Six Republicans and three Democrats face Senate recalls.  Republicans currently hold a 19-14 majority, so a net victory of three seats would give the Democrats the control of the Senate.

Which explains why Republicans want to change the rules in the middle of the game.


photo courtesy of kristine_a via Flickr


Brian F.
Brian F6 years ago

The real truth is that poor people tend to not have cars and threrefore driver's licenses because they can't afford the cost of insurance, maintenance, payments, etc.. So the republicans know that they can exclude a large segment of people that vote democratic by this simple requirement. Republicans know that they can only win if they can lower the number of democratic voters.

Lika S.
Lika P6 years ago

The republicans are so afraid of voter fraud. I really think there's some kind of paranoid conspiracy theory from their end...

Thing is, felons still on paper can vote, and those who are done serving their sentences are encouraged to vote here in Wisconsin. But if you're a newly wed woman in process of getting your name changed, you might have problems.

Mike S.
Mike S6 years ago

Perhaps they could institute tests like they had in the south years ago...you know, guess how many watermelon seeds in a jar...or ask questions like who was the 9th President of the United States...or why was the civil war fought (Correct: State's Rights; Incorrect: Slavery)[sarcasm on that last one]

Lisa H.
Lisa H6 years ago

Lindsay, I hear you defending this law, and I am appalled! Perhaps you don't remember that in this country, any law that affects specific groups of minorities is illegal. Or perhaps you don't remember that Wisconsin is the land of the devil, Scott Walker, who wants to bring back the Lord/Serf system of governance. Or maybe it has escaped you that Devil Walker introduced this law shortly after the recall petitions were introduced and special elections were scheduled. Or maybe you have just falled so deeply into T-bagger BS that you have lost your humanity? Either way, it IS true that many disabled and minority people do not carry photo ID, as they simply do not NEED it(imagine all the little ladies that don't work). So are you suggesting these minorities should be dragged down to the State building and waste money once every four years ONLY so they can vote?? You sound a lot like Devil Walker.

Helen Delahunt-Avila
Helen Avila6 years ago

well now isn't that nice.. following Ohio, Texas and 19 other states who are planning on adopting the same policy

Past Member 6 years ago

The Theocratic-Fascist "Right" have learned the lessons of Joseph Goebbels well: since they cannot win a fair political fight, don't fight fairly. This ploy is being implemented in virtually every GOP-controlled state. The facts are these: at most in the last few election cycles, the total number of actual fraudulent votes was at most a mere handful. (Do your own search: under "U.S. voting fraud," read the NY Times article entitled "In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud," from 12 April, 2007, or the article entitled "The Republican voter fraud hoax," from the Guardian (UK), 13 October, 2008.)

Diane H. F6 years ago

This is a cost and an unnecessary burden. It is another layer of unneeded bureaucracy imposed by Big Government Republicans, supposedly to address a non-existent problem.

The only type of voter fraud that this bill would be able to stop is that of someone who spends election day scurrying from one district to another to cast multiple votes. The number of fraudulent votes that one could cast would be negligible, and since there would be no pay-off for doing so, simply not worth the time. There are also heavy penalties for voter fraud. In the real world, our challenge has been to get people to vote at all.

In other words, we're stuck with paying the bill to address a problem that doesn't exist. Once again, the Republicans display their contempt for democracy.

Janice L.
Janice Lawrence6 years ago

Come on, Wisconsinites. Rise up and vote these evil people out. They are trying to take us back to Victorian times. They don't want anyone to vote but white men who have lots of land and money.

Hope S.
Hope Sellers6 years ago

Just away to supress the vote. Wisconsinites rise up and vote these idiots out.

Sharlene H.
Sharlene H6 years ago

Maybe today they will (the Repugs) be taken up in the Rapture. And leave the rest of the God fearing sane people here on earth.