Wisconsin Voter ID Struck Down

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

A U.S. District Court struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law that stipulated all who go to vote in state and federal elections must show some form of state-approved identification. U.S. District Court Judge Lynn Adelman stated that the law violates access to voting as stated in the U.S. and Wisconsin state constitutions, and greatly disadvantages racial and ethnic minorities. The judgement is very clear that many poor and economically disadvantaged people—most of whom are African American and Latino—will be denied a basic fundamental right.

Wisconsin is not the only state to try and require voter ID for those wishing to vote. States like Pennsylvania (whose own voter ID law is on hold pending a number of court cases), North Carolina and Texas all require some form of identification for those living in these states to vote. There are three fundamental problems with these laws. First, it goes on the premise that voter fraud is a major problem. In a study conducted by the Brennan Center for Justice, voter fraud is not a serious problem. State Republicans who contend that such a problem exists do so to justify making it harder for people who want to vote are prevented from voting. Second, these laws are reversing 50 years of efforts to make voter participation easier. Finally, many opponents see these laws as attempts to deprive the right to vote to those who might favor the Democrats or independent (neither Democrat or Republican) candidates.

But voter ID law are fundamentally wrong because they are being used as political weapons to take away a very fundamental right. If whole categories of Americans cannot vote, then it means they cannot help change the political landscape. If this happens, then whole sections of our society, regardless of what state they may be in, will not have their voices heard. No party or state or local officials should ever take away this right for political expediency or because it might do their party harm. Voting for those who qualify is a fundamental necessity if our democracy is to survive. I find it sad that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker will fight to retain Wisconsin’s voter ID law. This will mean the state government will spend more money and time on an issue that can only divide the people of Wisconsin further. This seems to be in keeping with Walker wanting to divide the people of his state instead of dealing with the problems the state has. I find it disgusting that Walker and so many of the Wisconsin State Republicans have very misplaced priorities.

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