Local officials weigh in on Wisconsin “Voter ID” ruling

By Cassandra Lans

milele-coggs-tom-barrett-lena-c-taylorMilwaukee Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs stated that the judge made the right call on the “Voter ID” law.

Great news this week for untold thousands of Wisconsin voters as U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman has rejected the photo identification requirements of the state’s “Voter ID” law.

Judge Adelman ruled the requirements would unfairly burden poor and minority voters, who would be disenfranchised because of the cost and difficulty of obtaining documents needed to apply for a state photo ID that would allow them to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It has been my position since the misguided law was first raised that it is a pricey solution in search of a problem, and one that is far too restrictive and punitive to far too many voters. In fact, if enforced in its original form the law would have been one of the most restrictive Voter ID laws in the U.S.

Once again, I would like to say “Thank You” to the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera for filing their original lawsuit to stop the law in order to protect our hard-earned right to vote.

I certainly hope state lawmakers get the message that what we really need is to find ways to make sure all registered voters exercise their right to vote – something that can keep Wisconsin among the top states for voter turnout and participation.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett stated, “Judge Adelman’s decision is good for democracy.

The Governor and State Attorney General should focus on increasing access to the polls and encouraging more people to vote and not on creating and defending measures that depress our democratic traditions.”

Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) released the following statement after U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down the Republican backed voter identification law: “We have been saying it from the start; this law ‘unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.’

Today is a historic day in Wisconsin as one of the most disenfranchising laws that push us back towards the Jim Crow Era has been overturned by another court.

Since the days of Ezekiel Gillespie suing and winning his right to vote as a black man in our state, people in Wisconsin have carried the torch of freedom to the polls, working to protect the voting rights for all citizens.”

“Instead of restricting the constitutional right to vote and implementing barriers similar to the poll tax of the past, the GOP should answer the call of Democrats and millions around the state by expanding voters’ rights, participation and civic engagement.”

“Without question our democracy is strongest when the right to vote is not shackled by partisan politics resulting in the disenfranchisement of our citizens, intentionally or unintentionally.

This is a big win for democracy.

This is the progressive, inclusive Wisconsin that we all know and love.”

And DNC Director of Voter Expansion, Pratt Wiley, released the following statement in response to a federal judge striking down Wisconsin’s voter ID law: “Today, the courts took an important step to make sure the right to vote is protected for all eligible Wisconsinites.

We applaud the rejection of this restrictive voter ID law that would have placed an undue burden on the state’s voters, especially women, the elderly, and poorer voters. This decision reinforces a commitment to true equal protection, and reaffirms that access to the ballot box remains a fundamental right protected against interference in Wisconsin and across the country.”

“But unfortunately, Republicans in Wisconsin remain committed to passing legislation to make voting unnecessarily difficult – despite virtually no evidence of voter impersonation in Wisconsin.

Governor Walker has pledged to call a special legislative session just to pass another restrictive voter ID bill.

We suggest Gov. Walker spend the time making sure that every Wisconsinite is able to vote rather than continuing to inflame fears of voter fraud.

Americans have never solved one problem with less Democracy and we won’t now – that’s why Democrats are committed to expanding access to the polls.”