By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Before adjourning last session, the Republican controlled Legislature pushed through a cadre of unnecessary “election reform” measures that it deemed critical to ensuring the integrity of the electoral process.
However, since there is no rampant voter fraud or voter deception in Wisconsin, the real intent of these draconian measures is obvious to deduce.
Instead of working to fix the problems they created, Republicans focused their end-of session attention on making it more difficult for people to vote.
Their anti-democratic agenda included legislation that fixed elections by severely limiting early voting; making it harder for nursing home residents to vote; and allowing for more voter intimidation.
But, the ultimate weapon in their arsenal to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters was the voter ID requirement.
Last week, a federal judge struck down the state’s voter ID law on the grounds that it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.
The law known as Act 23 had already been blocked by a state judge. Now, in order for the law to be put back in place, supporters would have to overturn both the state and federal decisions – a possibility that could prove difficult between now and the November 4 election for governor.
It’s no secret that Scott Walker wants this voter ID impediment in the worse way.
The governor is already on record as having indicated that he would call a special session to address voter ID, if judicial review failed to grant him a favorable decision.
At the Republican state convention held last weekend, Walker held court and stressed the importance of the November elections.
Not only is he concerned with winning the election, he must defeat his opponent, Mary Burke, in convincing fashion, if he expects serious national attention for his anticipated presidential bid in 2016.
Judge Adelman’s 70- page ruling may have put a damper on the GOP’s plan to rig the fall election. If left unchecked, Act 23 “would prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes.”
Moreover, the law would have a disparate impact on Blacks and Latinos being able to vote, which is a clear violation of the federal Voting Rights Act.
State Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, who defended the law, has pledged to take the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
So, the end result of the voter ID requirement remains in question.
Hopefully, in this particular instance, the best laid plans of these Republicans … will continue to go astray.