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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Issue of the Week: Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law Is Struck Down

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On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which was known as one of the most restrictive of its kind.

In doing so, Adelman not only stood up for Wisconsin’s long tradition of expansive voting rights, but his decision also struck at the Republican Party’s attempts to suppress the votes of citizens they don’t want to show up at the polls.

Wisconsin’s voter ID law—only enforced in one election, then put on hold—is the result of years of Republican attacks on “widespread voter fraud” in Wisconsin. The problem, of course, is that there never was any widespread fraud. Instead, there were some clerical errors that were cleaned up through better management. Even then-U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, a Republican, found there was no evidence for Republican claims of fraud.

Yet the myth took hold. Once Republicans took power in Madison, they passed Act 23, which included this tough voter ID requirement. Those who would be penalized are students, minority voters, those who don’t vote in every election, poor people and seniors. These are the very people the Republicans don’t want to cast a ballot.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has released a statement saying that he would appeal the decision. We think this is a waste of taxpayer money and un-American. This country has thrived and prospered as it continually expanded the vote to those who had once been prohibited from casting a ballot. Democracy is at its most representative when the most people possible make their voices heard.

We assume that Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans will try to work every angle to get some kind of voter ID requirement on the books by the time of the November election. Instead of trying to suppress the vote, they should try to ensure that Election Day is free of partisan game-playing and dirty tricks.