Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R)
From the "no one could have anticipated" file:
Earlier this year, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker became one of the many GOP governors to sign a law disenfranchising voters who do not have a photo ID — a law that disproportionately affects elderly voters, young voters, students, minorities and low-income voters. Having disenfranchised tens of thousands of Wisconsin voters, Walker is now making it harder for many of these voters to obtain the ID they need to regain their right to participate in the next election.
How is Walker doing so? By shuttering over a dozen DMV offices in the state, the very site at which voters would have to travel in order to comply with the new law.
What's more, there may be a bit of a pattern to where the closures are taking place:
One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts.
The DMV offered some pushback on that particular charge, saying that economics instead of politics played a role in the decision. Still, given that less than half of the state's counties currently comply with the law that all 72 counties must have ID services available for at least 20 hours a week, it is hard to fathom how closing more than 10 percent of state DMV offices won't be seen as an effort to put undue strain on folks trying to comply with the new law.
Voter ID laws, like the one in Wisconsin and close cousins that have popped up across the country, are a dangerous combination: potentially prone to chicanery like Walker's, and yet extraordinarily popular. Walker's clever use of budgetary authority as a thin cover for voter suppression needs to be put under a spotlight, to expose the real agenda behind such laws. Such laws are worse than merely being a solution to a problem that essentially doesn't exist. They are manufacturing a crisis as a means to a predictable and odious end.