Mary Lazich And Her “Giddy” Caucus Colleagues Over Undermining Voters
If anyone has doubt there is a most putrid element to state politics since the Republicans took control in 2011 only need look at the front page–above the fold story–in today’s Wisconsin State Journal. More than a story about partisan over-reach it is a confirmation of what we all knew deep down inside about how the GOP was using the process of government to further their partisan aims.
To achieve that goal they went after the most revered part of our political process–the right of voters to cast a ballot.
State Sen. Mary Lazich, urging fellow Republican senators to enact a voter ID requirement in a closed-door meeting in 2011, told her colleagues to consider its impact in the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and the state’s college campuses, a top aide to a former GOP senator testified in federal court Monday.
Congressman Glenn Grothman, serving at that time as a state senator, said in the same meeting that he supported voter ID because it would help Republicans win elections, according to the aide, Todd Allbaugh.
Other Republican lawmakers in the meeting appeared “giddy” at those prospects, Allbaugh testified. At the time of the meeting, he was chief of staff to then-Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center.
“What I’m concerned about here is winning,” Grothman, of Campbellsport, told his GOP colleagues, Allbaugh said.
Lazich, of New Berlin, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, told her Republican colleagues “we’ve got to think about what this would mean” for neighborhoods in Milwaukee and “college campuses,” Allbaugh said.
Every person who has followed this story in Wisconsin is well aware there is no data to show that anything nefarious was happening at the polling places in Wisconsin. NOTHING. There were no streams of voters pretending to be someone else, or voting twice. There were no throngs of folks using fake aliases to cast a ballot, and there were no elections that had been decided by all the wild claims. The only drama that was taking place regarding elections were when Republicans breathlessly tried to gin up their base with false-hoods about voter fraud.
The reason they wanted to so was to shore up their voting strengths by making weaker the votes from Democrats. It was simply appalling. I think many citizens around this state agree with me that it was deplorable to use fear tactics–in this case that somehow the voting system was not working in the manner it should–so to further partisan political aims.
But there is more to the story about Mary Lazich that we should not forget as we read this story today. When she had the power to actually make the process of government run more effectively and in so doing promote a more healthy political climate in the state she refused to act.
Lazich had the power to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 163 that would have allowed our state to rise above partisan spin when it comes to drawing the boundaries for legislative districts. There is no doubt that the political chicanery from both sides of the aisle that is created from the drawing of these lines creates massive problems when it comes to solving issues. The lack of too many completive seats helps to create the partisan deadlocks that stymie legislation and thwart the will of the people.
But Lazich who chaired the committee that needed to hold a hearing stated she was adamantly opposed to the whole idea. It was her stubbornness to do the people’s business as an elected official that helped the idea die in the legislature. There was a great outpouring from voters and statewide editorials on the front pages of Sunday newspapers simply asking for a hearing. Lazich refused.
But she and her Republican colleagues did have the will to undermine the right of many people to cast a ballot without needless hurdles and impediments. In so doing they felt giddy.
As a citizen and voter I am most certain I echo how the many across this state feel upon hearing this news today. We are sad and sickened over where this state that we love has been taken over the past six years. Republicans have nothing to be giddy about. They only have a walk of shame ahead of them.