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Poor People, Non-Whites, Those With No Cars Face Harder Time With Voter ID Laws

July 18, 2012

Though an appeal is a certainty, there was still reason to be proud of the actions Tuesday in a Dane County courtroom in relation to the odious voter ID law rammed through the legislature by out-of-control Republicans.  There is not now, nor has there ever been, a long list of offenders when it comes to election fraud in the Badger State

A Dane County judge permanently barred enforcement of the voter ID requirements of Wisconsin’s voter law, holding that it imposes too great a burden on voters in Wisconsin than the state constitution allows.

What I cringe at are news stories, like the one from CBS News this afternoon, that links Wisconsin with Alabama and Mississippi.  God, help us!

Anyone who has followed the debate in this state over the past year-and-a-half  knows that the partisan move by the majority Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature was a solution in search of a problem. There was no evidence of voter fraud that necessitated the draconian move of enacting a voter ID law in the state, except for the sole purpose of undermining the rights of citizens, especially certain demographics from having easy access to a most basic right.

Amid ongoing controversy surrounding a spate of new voter ID laws being enacted in the U.S., a new study by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law argues that the laws sets up a series of hurdles that could prevent thousands of voters from getting to the polls this fall. 

Ten such state laws have so far passed in the United States, adding fuel to the debate over whether or not voter ID laws prevent fraud, as proponents argue, or lead to disenfranchisement, as opponents contend. 

The study, written by NYU’s Keesha Gaskins and Sundeep Iyer, who oppose voter ID laws, supports the latter argument, contending that free photo IDs are not equally accessible to all voters – particularly those who live in areas with high poverty rates, black and Hispanic voters, and voters who don’t have cars. 

“We really are talking about a population of individuals that could very well influence the outcome” of the November elections, said Gaskins, in a Wednesday conference call. “These laws undermine the principles of fairness and equality promised by the Constitution.” 

Citing long distances between state ID-issuing offices, limited hours of operation during which these offices are open, the high costs of documents needed to obtain an ID, and government bureaucracy, Gaskins and Iyer say thousands of voters will be unable to vote in upcoming elections due to their lack of government-issued ID. 

According to the study, there are about 500,000 eligible voters without access to a vehicle who live more than 10 miles from a state ID-issuing office open more than two days a week. 

For instance, in Wisconsin, Alabama, and Mississippi — three of the states that have passed these voter ID laws — fewer than half of all ID-issuing offices are open five days a week, according to the report, and none are open on the weekends. Some offices, the report states, maintain what it calls “truly unusual” hours, such as the ID-issuing office in Woodville, Mississippi, which is open only on the second Thursday of each month.

3 Comments
  1. Solly permalink
    July 20, 2012 8:46 PM

    hmm, the second Thursday of every month, is once a month, not every other Thursday D.Ante, and the population of the town is not the most important factor, if it’s a rural county with no public transportation for someone who doesn’t drive to get there (duh, the reason they wouldn’t have a driver’s license). The office may serve 90 square miles and multiple times the population of the small town that has the travelling office. And maybe the 80 year old town official (like was in the news from Northern Wis), who has voted for decades and everyone in town knows, but doesn’t have the birth certificate (which costs $20+ something and a couple weeks to get in order to get the state i.d.), we need to be “protected” from fraud from her. But you got yours D.Ante, like your version of the bible apparently says, everyone else can eff off.

  2. D.Ante permalink
    July 19, 2012 12:50 PM

    Woodville Mississippi population 1,192 people. Every other Thursday sounds about right for a government office. But besides that point we had an activist judge in Dane County who signed the recall petition decide a law the people are asking for as illegal. Just more corruption from the county in this state that has no shame.

  3. cwtuttle1612 permalink
    July 19, 2012 12:18 PM

    The surprising comparison between Wisconsin and former Confederate states like Alabama and Mississippi is no longer surprising. These Lost Cause states were masters of denying the vote to African-Americans, all under the guise of “State’s Rights.”
    Surprisingly, a Wisconsinite was centrally involved with bringing the influence of the South to the North. Nixon ran his campaign of 1972 employing a “Southern Strategy,” and Paul Weyrich from Racine County by that time was working to form new Republican institutions reflecting this “strategy.” Weyrich has long been for limiting the vote, as he admits it serves Republican interests: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPsl_TuFdes
    Weyrich would help found the American Legislative Exchange Council (yes, ALEC), the group Scott Walker’s legislature has been using to pass the Voter ID law.
    With any election, you will find a few isolated instances of voter fraud, though hardly enough to justify changing the voting system. Studies have shown that African-Americans have voted strongly Democratic, especially since the 1964 Voters Rights passage. In Milwaukee, the state’s population center, many do not have drivers licences. What better way to limit the Democratic vote!

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