Heidi Herron posts on OS from the political wars in Wisconsin, often using real-life stories of people who are affected by the political changes happening since the huge 2010 Tea Party victories there. Recently she documented the efforts of one couple to get proper voter IDs as required by the new law. She posted the same article on WI Voices and let some of her OS friends know that the post was attracting comments largely from her opposition.
I ambled on over and set out to comment after reading her post and all the comments. That comment is below. I bet Heidi wouldn't mind at all if it moves others to click on the link above and follow my example.
(John and Rita are the couple whose story Heidi tells in both posts I linked to. You will understand their story if you follow the links.)
The problem with the new voter-ID law has nothing to do with the myriad nit-picky details of exactly what documentation is or is not needed, how scarce DMVs are, how restricted their hours of operation or even whether any given citizen gets paid time off work. The problem is that it makes it more difficult for Wisconsin citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote for no good reason.
The law was brought into being by a set of politicians who never tire of proclaiming their fealty to the Constitution yet one of whose first concerns once in power was limiting the exercise of the most fundamental constitutional right – the single right that allows each citizen a voice in government. The other great cause of these elected officials has been Wisconsin‘s fearsome fiscal condition. “The state is broke,” is their rallying cry as they ruthlessly slash and burn any program that stands a chance of benefitting ordinary citizens in favor of tax cuts for the few, the profitable, the very wealthy. And yet the voter suppression law they were so pantingly eager to bring about will cost the poor, sad, bankrupt state many millions of dollars to implement including $436,000 to one advertising agency alone for a campaign to inform voters how to get their approved proof of identification. Is it a case of sadly misplaced priorities or blatant dishonesty?
Perhaps this simple fact will lead us to an answer: in a respected, impartial, undisputed study Wisconsin was found to have a statewide voter fraud rate of 0.0002%. Each of the seven cases (seven of 3,000,000 voters) in that statistic was a person voting with a felony conviction. It is a level of voter “fraud” that would influence no election and that would not be prevented by this law. As Steven Colbert said, “our democracy is under siege from an enemy so small it could be hiding anywhere.” (http://www.truthaboutfraud.org/pdf/TruthAboutVoterFraud.pdf)
Whatever you may think of John and Rita, consider Ruthel Frank, the 84 year old woman who, because she was born at home in rural Brokaw, Wisconsin, has never had a regulation birth certificate. Even so, she has voted in every election since 1948. Whether it will cost her the reported $200 to get her identity documented in a way that will satisfy Wisconsin’s new political regulators or whether there is some obscure loophole she will be able to crawl through, with this outrageously disrespectful culmination of her lifetime of patriotic citizenship forced on her, she becomes the light illuminating a stupid, partisan, ideological piece of legislation that serves no honest purpose.
You who defend this solution without a problem betray Wisconsin’s noble and historic reputation for uplifting the common people, the little, low-profit people, and you are being played for suckers by those who will come after you before long.