Nov 8, 2013

GOP Paper Bashes Photo Voter ID Law, as Bureaucrat Swoons on Stand

The Raft of Medusa by Théodore Géricault (1819)
Republicans want their restrictive Photo Voter IDs law on the books for two reasons: To win elections; and keep away undesirables (non-GOP voters) from the polling place.

We have asked if news outlets will play it dumb during what could be a landmark federal voting rights trial on photo voter ID taking place now in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Some news coverage and editorial comment of the voting rights trial [Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), and League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger (Case 2:12-cv-00185, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin] are encouraging.

The testimony of the top Wisconsin election official is not encouraging.

Wisconsin newspaper staff across the state knows the GOP game is to attack the foundation of our democracy—voting.

The undesirables have no business on the Koch Ship, Wisconsin, the GOP believes: Discard them.

This morning's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is instructive of a different sentiment: "Don't change voter ID law; get rid of it."

No one ever accused the Journal-Sentinel as being anything other than a GOP-leaning paper, but on Photo Voter ID, the editorial page and news coverage have been consistently excellent, though this reader would like the editors to simply state that Scott Walker and the Republicans are a bunch of goddamn liars—something the Journal-Sentinel staff knows to be true.

Nationally, the Republican project to restrict voting is properly derided as anti-democratic, and racist (as an ancillary benefit for the Tea Party).

"You must register. You must vote. You must learn, so your choice advances your interest and the interest of our beloved Nation. Your future, and your children's future, depend upon it, and I don't believe that you are going to let them down.," said President Lyndon Johnson in the capitol rotunda at the signing of the Voting Rights Act. That was in 1965.

Today of course, LBJ's aspirations come as unwanted news to Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board (GAB) whose staff live in fear for their jobs; a couple of pro-voting rights moves and Republicans will pass legislation disbanding the GAB and replace the Board members with GOP partisans.

Kevin Kennedy, Director and General Counsel of the Wisconsin GAB testified yesterday that "his main concern about the 2011 photo voter-ID law was training the state’s uncommonly large number of elections workers." (AP report)

That's Kennedy's main concern?

The GAB states as its mission (in part) that "Wisconsin elections are administered through open, fair and impartial procedures that guarantee that the vote of each individual counts and that the will of the electorate prevails."

Under Act 23, constitutionally qualified, registered voters who have voted for decades can walk up to the polling table, state their name and address, and be told by their neighbors staffing the polling table: 'Hey, Don; good morning. Oh, no acceptable voter ID? Sorry man, you can't vote. Have to protect the integrity of the election, brother.'

Kennedy must have lost consciousness for a moment on the stand yesterday.

It seems repulsive that GAB staff will not stand up to the anti-American Republican Party attacking the very foundation of our democracy because Kennedy and his colleagues fear for their jobs, content to let the votes of citizens be discarded out of career convenience and passive compliance to GOP dictates.

Kennedy could have testified in this landmark case and spoke the truth that he well knows: That requiring Photo Voter IDs as narrowly prescribed by the GOP's Act 23 has the effect of stopping legal voters from voting, and has no rational basis because in-person voting fraud is a myth, actually a lie.

Kennedy took the easy way out in his appearance in federal court.

If the GAB is so afraid to utter a word to save the legal votes of legal Wisconsin voters, what good is this cowardly body against the many-tentacled Republican Party eviscerating our democratic processes?

Yes, I know there are dedicated and good people at the GAB, but if all they offer is their silence and acquiescence, they may as well not exist; they are a woefully inadequate life raft against the anti-democratic partisans working to rip apart the fabric of Wisconsin democracy.

Put simply, what part of government accountability does the GAB not understand?

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