Aug 23, 2013

GOP Legislature Altered Wisconsin Constitution Webpage; Changes Mislead on Voting Rights

Updated - New LRB page on Suffrage.

See the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB)'s response.

The Wisconsin Legislature Reference Bureau webpage on Suffrage, voting, has been changed while under GOP control since 2011.

The following misleading sentence has been 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 is the first time such a naked display of partisanship has been on display on what used to be a non-political webpage on the Wisconsin Constitution maintained under the auspices of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB). The URL is: .

Any Wisconsin document, record, history and archives should be examined to ensure that they have not been cleansed by the Republicans in Wisconsin government in the manner of a Soviet-based authoritarian regime. 

I have been told of other cleansing efforts that I cannot reveal for fear of GOP recrimination against whistle blowers holding appointed positions.

The GOP-added sentence to the Wisconsin Legislature's webpage on Suffrage is misleading for several reasons. 

1. Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (2008) is a federal case based upon a facial challenge (a law asserted to be illegal or unconstitutional on its face) to an Indiana state law obstructing voting.  

Crawford relied upon the weak warrant to vote under the United States Constitution, not the Wisconsin Constitution. And the Crawford case included no social scientific evidence as was presented in
Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker (Case 11CV5492) (2012).

2. The Wisconsin Constitution—the topic of the Wisconsin Constitution's webpage—includes a strong, affirmative right to vote under ARTICLE III, Suffrage vis a vis the United States Constitution. (Hence, U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Keith Ellison's (D-MN) Right to Vote Amendment, explicitly guaranteeing Americans' right to vote in the U.S. Constitution." Hey, Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-White People), still waiting for your support of the Right to Vote Amendment in light of your unshakable commitment of voting rights.

3. The Wisconsin Constitution explicitly specifies the type of laws that may be enacted to regulate elections, enumerating the specific conditions under which the qualifications of voters (electors) may be changed by the enactment of laws under Section 2, and only Section 2. Anything outside this scope and the legislature has to change the Wisconsin Constitution.

This GOP pretension that the federal case, Crawford, controls Wisconsin state voting rights case is a disingenuous political talking point, hawked by Wisconsin's GOP Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen and other GOP politicos.

As Judge David T. Flanagan writes in striking down the GOP Photo Voter ID bill in July 2012 in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker (Case 11CV5492):

The Crawford decision has very little application to the dispute now before this Court, however, for three primary reasons. First, this case is founded up the Wiscosnin Constitution which expressly guarantees the right to vote, while Crawford was based upon the U.S. Constitution which offers no such guarantee. Second, the Indiana law is less rigid than Act 23, and noted by the U.S. Supreme Court, offered alternative voting opportunities to voters who lacked the Photo ID. Finally, Crawford came to the Court based upon a flawed factual record, lacking the substantial evidence that has been offered by the plaintiffs in this action. This case is based on a claim that Act 23 violates the Wisconsin Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. The people of Wisconsin may choose to assure to themselves rights under their own constitution that differ or exceed those guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, State v. Doe, 78 Wis 2d 161, 172 (1977). The question of what is permitted and what is protected by the Wisconsin Constitution is the issue before this court and that issue was not before the U.S. Supreme Court in the Crawford case.
This is not the first time Van Hollen and the Republican Party have lied about federal law and federal case law in order to obstruct voting rights on the state level.

See Van Hollen's and the GOP 2008 efforts at voter suppression in which Van Hollen's similarly ridiculous effort was tossed out of court.

In the 2008 case, (J B Van Hollen vs. Government Accountability Board (GAB) et al) Van Hollen tried to create a new Wisconsin constitutional qualification to vote by fiat: A perfect match of the spelling of voters' names in state bureaucracies, after assuring fellow Republicans he would commence this frivolous legal action at the 2008 Republican National Convention held in Minneapolis, as first reported by WisPolitics in a scoop that includes audio.

Several former judges serving on the GAB Board would have failed Van Hollen's new constitutional standard proposed in 2008, as this GOP effort drew wide ridicule.

"Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a prerequisite for a citizen's right to vote," Judge Maryann Sumi said in dismissing Van Hollen's lawsuit that tried to use the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) as a voter suppression tool.

Our corrupt attorney general, up for reelection on 2014, will not give up his Party's project of denying the voting rights of Wisconsin citizens; and neither will the Republican Party now holding sway in the gerrymandered state legislature.


  1. A "clean" reverse engineering would now require people with no connection to the whisltlblowers to now "find" the altered language. In the tech industry, the second group usually gets a list from an insulated intermediary

  2. > This GOP pretension that the federal case, Crawford, controls Wisconsin state voting rights case is a disingenuous political talking point, hawked by Wisconsin's GOP Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen and other GOP politicos.

    Moreover, it's disingenuous, coming from a party where many officials and lawmakers openly argue that state government is not only better than federal government, but trumps it under various other, equally dubious reasoning. Hence the "nullification" movement among conservatives and too many Repubs.