Under the proposed Wisconsin bill, voters must present a valid (presumably current) Wisconsin driver's license, military ID, or "identification certificate" issued by the Department of Transportation -- not just any government-issued ID; other forms of government-issued photo identification, including student IDs from public universities, would not be accepted. In practice, anyone who does not currently have an in-state driver's license with their current address will have to go through the arduous process of obtaining an ID at the DMV, which entails providing one's Social Security number as well as proof of name and date of birth (presumably with a birth certificate) and citizenship (with a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization papers). Note also that voters would have to rely on the under-resourced Departments of Motor Vehicles, which has extremely limited hours.Surprise! Meet the modern poll tax. If you're a civilian in Wisconsin, it's at least $28 to vote plus proof of legal citizenship if this law passes. The Bush Justice Department must have found hundreds of voter fraud cases involving faked IDs to warrant this rule, yes?
Some basic numbers: Eighty percent of men and 81 percent of women in Wisconsin have a valid ID, but:
So the target of this measure becomes clear: young people, including students, African Americans, the poor, and the elderly -- coincidentally, groups that have traditionally voted for Democrats.
- 23 percent of people over 65 do not have a valid ID
- only 45 percent of African American men and 51 percent of African American women have valid ID;
- 54 percent of Hispanic men and 41 percent of Hispanic women have a valid driver's license; and
- 47 percent of Milwaukee County's African American adults and 43 percent of the county's Hispanic adults have a valid driver's license.
an intensive five-year investigation by the Department of Justice under George W. Bush famously netted only 86 voter-fraud convictions. Most of these were for offenses like vote-buying schemes or ineligible voters registering to vote—not for voter fraud that could have been prevented by a voter-ID law.
I see. So what's Indiana's reasoning behind the current toughest voter ID law in the land?
Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita has conceded the state has never presented a case of “voter impersonation,” which the law was designed to safeguard against.
But a photo ID requirement would boost public confidence in state elections, he said.
Yeah...confidence that poor minorities will be disenfranchised at the polls. I hope Wisconsin's ready to pay for every state citizen to get an ID card or license, because otherwise there's a very strong argument to be made that this is a poll tax, plain and simple, in violation of the 24th Amendment and Harper v. Virgina Board of Elections.
Seems simple to me, you must have purchased a state license or ID card before you can vote as a civilian. There's no other reason for this law other than to act as a poll tax.
[UPDATE] Turns out the legislation does have a provision where some are eligible to waive the ID card fee if they specifically ask for it to be waived. Nice. Still, nobody seems to be able to point to why this law is necessary.
(h/t Balloon Juice)