Ugh! We thought we were done with worrying about photo ID being required for our November elections, but the GOP is still at it.
Our voter ID law, rammed though our Republican dominated legislature, was immediately challenged in the courts. There are 2 cases in the state, one brought by the League of Women Voters and the other by the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, have resulted in injunctions against implementation of the state-authorized photo ID requirement (the other parts of the voter suppression law - like having all voters sign the poll book - are still in place).
Following the injunctions and in hopes that the voter suppression law would aid the GOP in the February Presidential primary and June recall elections, Republican Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen asked our 4:3 RW dominated State Supreme Court to rule on the case. They declined to hear it at the time.
Today, he has repeated his request to the State Supreme Court.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is once again asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to step in and review rulings by two judges striking down the state's voter ID law and to do so in time for the November presidential election.Yes, our State Constitution guarentees our right to vote.
The photo identification law was not in place for the June 5 recall election for Gov. Scott Walker because two judges in Dane County each separately ruled the law was unconstitutional because, as one judge said, it created a "substantial impairment of the right to vote" guaranteed by the state constitution.
"No quarter has been given in defending voter ID," Van Hollen said in a statement. "People in this state are very frustrated that a common sense law enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor has been blocked."Seriously, nobody but Republicans are frustrated about photo ID being asked of them. In fact, people are only frustrated and about why they're now being required to sign the poll book before getting their ballot as required by the new law. That process only serves to create longer lines in polling places - its likely intention to further make voting difficult.
To get the law reinstated, voter ID supporters need to get both orders lifted. Accomplishing that in two separate appeals courts before November is unlikely.Of course, back in March the State Supreme court was much in the news regarding the Justice David Prosser ethics complaint about his repeated unprofessional behavior and attempted choking of fellow Justice Ann Bradley. Perhaps the RW majority decided they needed to reduce the amount of time they spent in the media spotlight which highlighted the political extremism of several members of the states high court.
In March, following the Dane County judges' rulings, Van Hollen asked that a court of appeals consider both cases to get a quick resolution to them in time for the June recall. The appeals court sent the issue on to the Supreme Court, which declined the next month to take it up.
Now, of course, David Prosser has nearly succeeded in his demands that his fellow Justices recuse themselves from hearing his ethics case and the complaint will likely die for lack of a hearing. This makes it more politically possible (State Supreme Court Justices run for office) for the State Supremes to withstand another bout of public scrutiny and outrage if they decide to reverse themselves and hear the Voter ID case.
Outside of his GOP agenda, Van Hollen has a personal, political motive for once again pushing for photo ID:
Van Hollen is himself the campaign co-chairman for former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is running against Democrat and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the U.S. Senate race in November.
That's right. Tommy Thompson, along with Mitt Romney, would be a direct beneficiary of any effort to keep poor people, minorities, and anyone likely to vote for Democrats from getting their hands on a ballot. Ditto all the GOP State Senate and State Assembly candidates who are trying to retain their massive Assembly majority and regain Republican control over the State Senate. J. B. Van Hollen would be a Republican hero with future political favors owed to him from them all.
Voter ID and other voter suppression tactics are a solution in search of a problem. Despite the whining and pearl clutching of the GOP, voter fraud is extremely rare. It's only use is preventing the right to vote of those who either can't afford or can't obtain the necessary documents to obtain the state-authorized ID as well as those who can't get to the DMV facilities that issue them.
Republicans just love to talk about freedom and demcracy, but work hard to take those away at every opportunity. Our right to vote is guarenteed and the ALEC inspired attempts to take them away need to be fought wherever they rear their ugly heads.
Update: Democratic Response Edution: The following is the response from Mike Tate, Chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party to Van Hollens attempt to end the injunctions:
“This deeply flawed legislation has already, correctly, been halted by two Wisconsin courts..
“We’ve held four clean, successful state-wide elections since this law was halted; for Van Hollen to now brazenly attempt to circumvent the role of the Court of Appeals reeks of partisanship.
“Put simply, this law would disenfranchise seniors, veterans, students and people from all walks of life across Wisconsin.
“Regardless of whether you are a Republican, Democrat or independent, everyone can agree that we shouldn't play politics with something as important as voting -- every eligible voter deserves to have the opportunity to make their voice heard at the ballot box.
“Inside of 80 days until November 6th, and roughly 65 days before early voting, Wisconsin voters, and the dedicated clerks and election officials who conduct our elections fairly, deserve certainty that this requirement will not be in place for November 6th -- and will work its way through the courts according to standard practice.”