Wisconsin’s Infamous ID Voter Law

By: Daniel Nardini

They are at it again. Wisconsin’s Republican and some reactionary Democratic legislators decided that there was “too much” fraud at the voting polls. Never mind the fact that throughout the United States—not to mention Wisconsin—there have been almost no cases of voter fraud. But that did not matter. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law legislation that now requires everyone who goes to the voting booths to show proper state ID.

This new law, passed by the same largely Republican State Assembly that passed the law effectively curtailing union bargaining rights among state employees, will require that all Wisconsin state residents must show some state identification to prove they are state residents. The Republicans have stated that this is to “avoid voter fraud.” However, it is only too clear that the law is aimed at those who will find it hard to show identification to vote.

There are two problems to the law. First it will affect those who do not have access to a drivers license facility. The other problem is that there are many Wisconsin residents living on fixed incomes. They will find it hard to go to their driver’s facility and pay for the a driver’s license or a state ID. This new law will affect people who live in primarily rural areas as well as in poor urban areas. It will affect African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, seniors who can no longer drive and cannot get out, and those who are disabled.

These type of laws have been challenged legally because they limit access to one of Americans’ most fundamental right—voting. The new law, which will take effect in 2012 (just in time for the presidential election), has been perfectly timed to deprive certain groups of people of their right to vote. It is a cruel act that was designed to keep certain groups of people from being able to vote to influence the state elections. This has been especially aimed at Latino voters who are now exercising their right to vote and have an impact on both state and national elections.

I can only hope there will be a challenge to this law. It clearly is unconstitutional, and it is clearly aimed at limiting certain groups of Americans. Last month, a lower federal court struck down the recently passed Wisconsin law that curtailed the right of state employees to collective bargaining through their unions. Of course the state is appealing this law to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. But it shows that this law was clearly unconstitutional. With any luck, someone will challenge this voter ID law and this law too will be ruled unconstitutional. There is much riding on fighting this unjust law—one of the fundamental rights of Americans is at stake.

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