Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Too little, far too late for Walker to fix voter ID issues

One rule that I’ve learned over the last 5+ years is that if the Walker Administration is “doing the right thing”, it’s often a case of covering up for their own scummy behavior. Another example of that happened today, when Governor Walker announced a new emergency rule that goes into place on Friday that will try to clean up some of the problems associated with the WisGOP-approved voter ID law.
This week, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Division of Motor Vehicles announced a new process to issue photo ID card receipts to those who need them to vote. These receipts will be issued to individuals who are in the process of obtaining photo ID cards for voting but are unable to produce the necessary documents in time for an election. The DMV has been offering free voter identification cards since 2011. This measure builds on that service, so that those who have difficulty accessing documentation needed for an ID card, and those who have errors on documentation, such as a misspelled name on a birth certificate, are still able to vote with a temporary photo ID card receipt.
Sounds good on the surface, as these moves give the benefit of the doubt to those who might be victimized by obnoxious errors that are beyond their control.

But Andrea Kaminski of the League of Women Voters said this move still doesn’t allow the Walker Administration’s numerous voter suppression measures to suddenly pass muster.
This proposal, which is clearly aimed at deflecting the current lawsuits in federal court, could help a small number of eligible citizens who are at risk of losing their vote because of the voter photo ID law. That is a small positive development. The provision will be more helpful if more people know about it, and that underscores the need for voter education.

People who are not sure whether they have, or can obtain, an acceptable photo ID need to know about this new provision as well as other aspects of the voter ID law. At the very least they need to know where to go online or whom to call to get answers for their questions.
And look at what just happened to come out this afternoon- the GAB’s formal request for that $250,000 in funding to go toward that voter education campaign. Now all the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee needs to do is approve releasing these already paid-for funds designed to let Wisconsinites know how to obtain a voter ID.

And did I mention that a trial on this voter ID bill starts on Monday, with new evidence of the effects of these laws now known, and with revelations from Congressman Glenn Grothman and a former GOP staffer at the State Capitol that showed voter ID was intended to give Republicans an advantage? What, you thought the timing of this emergency rule came because the Walker Administration was acting out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course not!

I agree with Kaminski that this is clearly trying to head off damning evidence that Wisconsin’s voter ID law leads to suppression, which could get the law thrown out entirely, and what the Walker boys are trying to pull is the “see? We’re fixing the problem, let us handle it,” defense. That’s the last-ditch move sleazeballs try to do once they can’t get out of a mess by ignoring the issue or lying about it. Far too late, WisGOP. The evidence is obvious that people got their constitutional right to vote was denied in last month’s primary, and this band-aid in the form of a new rule won’t be nearly enough to make it OK by November.

The fact that the Walker boys are desperately trying to cover themselves ahead of this trial shows that they have a lot to hide, and that they know these rules are targeted towards certain, Dem-leaning groups. And this deception act from the Governor’s Office shows again that not only should Wisconsin’s voter ID law be thrown out for its one-sidedness, but also that the Obama Administration must step in and oversee November's elections in this state. At this point, you can’t trust the Fitzwalkerstanis to do anything that doesn’t slant the playing field for themselves or their allies.

1 comment:

  1. Some questions I hope the judge asks about this new "emergency" rule:

    How would this receipt differ from the one successful drivers license and ID applicants are given now while waiting for their permanent cards to come in the mail?

    How long will the new receipt be good for?

    If the documents required to get a regular license or ID clearly do not exist (never created, or lost or destroyed through no fault of the applicant) will the applicant have to re-apply before every election for a new special receipt?

    How much time does it take an applicant to go far enough through the appeals process to be eligible for a special receipt?

    If the applicant has proven their identity sufficiently to qualify for a receipt to vote in one or more upcoming elections how is it that they have not proven their identity well enough to qualify for a regular drivers license or state ID?

    If the concern is in-person fraud why are only a limited number of types of ID accepted for voting purposes out of the whole universe of identification papers available? For example, why aren't state-issues drivers licenses from other states accepted? Why would an expired ID card be any less valid than an unexpired one, if proof of identity is the only concern?

    Why doesn't Wisconsin accept affidavits like the states whose voter ID laws have passed court review so far, and like Wisconsin used to before this stupid law took effect?

    Not to let my biases show...