Mar 2, 2012

Voter Reg Forms Put Voter Obstruction on Display

Wisconsin Voter Registration Form - GAB form 131
Update: The Wisconsin Legislature's webpage on Suffrage, voting, has been changed while under GOP control since 2011 with the following misleading sentence added: "An Indiana statute requiring citizens voting in person on election day, or casting a ballot in person at the office of the circuit court clerk prior to election day, to present photo identification issued by the government did not violate constitutional standards. Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181, 128 S. Ct. 1610, 170 L. Ed. 2d 574 (2008)."

This sentence is misleading for several reasons. 

1. Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) is a federal case based upon a facial challenge to a state law obstruction voting. Crawford relied upon the weak warrant to vote under the United States Constitution. 

2. The Wisconsin Constitution—the topic of the Wisconsin Constitution's webpage—includes a strong, affirmative right to vote under ARTICLE III, Suffrage.

3. The Wisconsin Constitution is specifies the laws that may be enacted to regulate elections, enumerating the specific conditions under which the qualifications of voters (electors) may be changed by the enacting of laws under Section 2. 

This GOP pretension, a disingenuous political talking point, is hawked by Wisconsin's GOP Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen.
The revised Wisconsin Voter Registration form (at right) used in the first election in February requiring a GOP-approved photo ID shows two facts that complement the new photo ID requirement presented at the voting rolls table.

One, apart from the photo ID requirement, voter registration in Wisconsin is a rigorous process, and includes a mandatory voter signature attesting that under pain of "fine or imprisonment under State and Federal laws," the information provided on a registration form is not false information.

Only after having registered can a voter then proceed to the voting rolls table where he or she presents the GOP-approved voter ID.

28 Days

Secondly, in the same field where a voter attests to true information, a voter must acknowledge that he or she has resided at the given address for at least "28 consecutive days immediately preceding this election," moved up from 10 days by the Republicans.

The significance of this increase in the residency requirement is clear when applied to mobile voting demographics.

To take 2008 as an example, all residents of UW-system dorms (where students this coming Fall semester move in roughly on August 29-30 as is typical) would have been disenfranchised from voting in the wards of their dorms in the 2008 September 9 primary election. Students moving in off-campus, typically Aug. 14-15, would also have been disenfranchised from voting in their new wards.

This year the Fall primary election is held on August 14.

But when one considers the some 7,240 dorm students at UW-Madison alone, the some 182,000 students on all of the 26 campuses of the UW-System, and the some 382,000 students at the Wisconsin Techical College System, the GOP's 28-day residency requirement's capacity to disinfranchise voters and cause confusion is clear among this mobile demographic that leans Democratic in its voting patterns.

Confusion, frustration, and disenfranchisement are of course the objectives.


  1. Which is why voter education -- and absentee voting -- are so critical this year. Unless we are fortunate enough to have the whole bill thrown out by the courts.

  2. Could not agree more.

    I see several possible scenarios including an ultimate decision by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to ignore over a century of settled constitutional law on voting rights and voting 4-3 to uphold the voter id law. Are the GOP four on the Court this corrupt and nakedly intellectually dishonest? Not sure.

    In federal court, as the two outstanding cases will be litigated susbsequent to elections, I think Wisconsin, as Earnest Canning has written, provides potentially a landmark case on voter ID laws. But again I am not sure how a GOP Supreme Court would rule.