Wisconsin Voter Photo I D Card Passage Both Praised And Damned
WISCONSINREPORT.COM (05/20/2011) - The Voter ID law passed by the Wisconsin legislature is being both praised and damned. Governor Walker and Senator Fitzgerald applauded the legislation as a great idea, while opponents are either suggesting it suppresses the rights of people to vote, and is especially hurtful to the poor, handicapped, and elderly, while others go so far as to say it reminds them of what is called, Jim Crow laws, of the past.
The State Senate passed Assembly Bill (AB) 7 yesterday. The legislation was co-sponsored by Senator Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee). It requires a photo ID to vote, along with enacting other voting reforms.
“The State Senate took a necessary step to prevent vote fraud and restore integrity to our electoral process. The bill helps ensure all legal voters can vote, but also helps ensure that only legal votes are counted," Senator Zipperer said.
“Voters can be disenfranchised by being denied the right to vote, and they can be disenfranchised by having their vote canceled out by an illegal vote. This bill addresses both issues, and I am pleased to support its passage today,” Senator Zipperer said.
Republican Governor Scott Walker looks at the law, which he is expected to sign next week, as a way to protect and nurture the faith of Wisconsin residents in the election process.
“Protecting the integrity of our elections is central to ensuring our government has the full faith and confidence of the citizens it represents,” Governor Walker said.
“Requiring photo identification to vote will go a long way to eliminate the threat of voter fraud. If you need an ID to buy cold medicine, it’s reasonable to require it to vote," Governor Walker continued.
"I would like to thank Senator Leibham and Representative Stone for their years of leadership on this common sense piece of legislation,” Governor Walker added.
Senator Fred Risser says, "this legislation is nothing more than a voter suppression measure."
"It will have a significant negative affect on the ability of many individuals, seniors, students, rural residents, and people with disabilities to vote.
Supporters argue this measure is necessary to stop voter fraud which has proven to be practically nonexistent in Wisconsin's history.
"The truth is that the bill’s supporters want to impose as many roadblocks as possible to make it more difficult for certain segments of the population to vote," Senator Risser pointed out.
"Wisconsin should work to find ways to strengthen election procedures and voter turnout without erecting additional barriers to disenfranchise our citizens," Senator Risser said.
State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) issued the following statement after she voted in favor of legislation to require voters to show a photo ID at the polls:
“Voting is our most sacred right and we must do all we can to ensure the integrity of our elections. Wisconsin voters need a guarantee that their votes count, because every fraudulent vote cancels out a legitimate vote. Voter ID is a common sense way to reduce voter fraud and protect the ballot box.”
Senator Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) fiercely opposes the legislation her Republican colleagues voted for "that would directly cause massive disenfranchisement on the countless number of minorities, elderly, disabled, and low-income families around Wisconsin."
“There is no reason to suppress the vote, to implement a poll tax, to make GOP responsible for the reincarnation of Jim Crow Laws” says Senator Taylor.
Senator Taylor says "the Voter Suppression Bill will have life long effects on people who are not able to sign a poll list or pay for an ID due to disability, financial challenges or mobility. This bill also affects universities severely by requiring the campuses to issue an ID every two years, a cost to the defunded UWSystem under GOP leadership, thereby mandating higher spending."
“Its one of the most restrictive bills to limit access to a constitutional right- the right to vote; and in this bill the GOP drives us backwards. In fact, so far backwards, I feel like we are back at Dred Scott,” Senator Taylor exclaimed.
Supporters say the Voter D law requires voters to prove who they are and that they are legally able to vote by applying for and presenting a Voter ID Card before they are given a ballot.
The bill was passed after two days of debate, extreme rhetoric and delay tactics from the minority and disruptions from Capitol protesters.
“The dignity of the institution, and the results of the election, used to matter to both the majority and the minority party. Today, the Democrats made it clear they just don’t care anymore," Republican Senator Scott Fitzgerald said.
“First, they fled to Illinois instead of doing their jobs. Then, they allowed their allies to shout down and interrupt the Democratic process. Then, they refused to follow the rules of the Senate they know full well. When protesters shouted down a Republican press conference today, one actually told the Democrat Senators ‘we ran them out for you.’ They might as well have high-fived each other," Senator Fitzgerald said.
“Sooner or later, I hope the Democrats grow up and remember that they’re legislators, and stop posing for the cameras and playing to their base," Senator Fitzgerald continued.
“Last session, I didn’t agree with the Democrats’ constant job killers, tax hikes and special interest giveaways. But I didn’t get my friends to pack the galleries, yell ‘shame’ at my fellow legislators and pretend the Senate rules apply only when it’s convenient," said Senator Fitzgerald.
“Photo ID is a reasonable, overdue election reform. Someone who votes legally deserves to know that their vote matters and isn’t getting cancelled out by someone else’s fraud,” Senator Fitzgerald explained.
One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross says the law Governor Walker is expected to sign next week is the nation's most restrictive voter ID law.
“The history books will condemn the anti-American and unconstitutional action by Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican controlled legislature to deny eligible voters their sacred right to vote," Ross said.
"Ultimately, this will cost Wisconsin not only our fair and clean elections, but also millions of additional tax dollars when a court rules against them for damages for denying legal voters the right to vote,” said Ross.
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