Nov 15, 2013

Wisconsin Voting Rights Trial Ends Today; GOP War on Voting Goes On

Update III: Three developments signal an eventual reversal of Crawford in two federal cases challenging Wisconsin's Photo Voter ID law

Update II: "The pivotal swing vote on the Supreme Court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, also seems troubled by partisan considerations in state election law," says Rick Hasen.

Update: Wisconsin GOP pushes new voting restrictions, and bizarre new legislation

While civil rights litigation proceeds in Wisconsin's four voting rights cases, anyone doubting the Republicans' motives need only pick up this morning's paper:

"Assembly Republicans used the final regular session day of the year Thursday to push their proposals that would make it more difficult to remove public officials from office, require photo identification at the polls and limit hours of in-person absentee voting." (Bauer. AP)

The federal trial of two federal Wisconsin voting rights cases is scheduled to conclude today at 5:45 P.M. Central Standard Time, but the all-out assault on voting has escalated.

Voting Rights Wars

The Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 created a modestly pro-voter United States Election Assistance Commission to help states run federal elections "to ... (address) improvements to voting systems and voter access that were identified following the 2000 election."

Central to this HAVA objective is helping legal voters to vote.

If you are a Republican and Tea Bagger, different story, the GOP's objective is to stop the vote, hence the four civil rights trials in Wisconsin.

Now, HAVA suggests a wide scope of acceptable IDs for in-person voting or registering, or a person obtaining a state-mandated ID.

Naturally, the Wisconsin Republican Party's corrupt Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, in 2008 invented out on thin air a mandate that HAVA demanded an exact data match in state bureaucracies as a new condition to vote.

Van Hollen is of course crazy, or actually lied.

"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, killing one effort to obstruct voters.

Since 2008, the GOP war on voting has accelerated, attacking early voting, demanding a narrow range of acceptable Photo Voter IDs as a new qualification to vote, among many other voter obstruction measures.

So as the two-week federal trial on Wisconsin's GOP Photo Voter ID comes to an end today, it is worth reviewing the narrow range of acceptable Photo Voter IDs the Republicans crafted prior to the GOP's Act 23 being enjoined (stopped from taking effect) in two state courts, and likely in federal court.

Acceptable-to-the-Republican-Party Photo Voter IDs in Wisconsin (no longer necessary as four civil rights trials remain under adjudication) are:

Acceptable Wisconsin Photo IDs
•A Wisconsin DoT-issued driver license
•A Wisconsin DoT-issued identification card
•An identification card issued by a U.S. uniformed service
• A U.S. passport
(Identifications above must be unexpired, or if expired, have expired after the date of the most recent general election.)
•A certificate of naturalization that was issued not earlier than two years before the date of an election at which it is presented
•An unexpired driving receipt issued by Wisconsin DoT.
•An unexpired identification card receipt issued by Wisconsin DoT.
•An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin
•An unexpired identification card issued by a Wisconsin-accredited university or college that contains the following:
-- Date of Issuance
-- Signature of Student
-- Expiration date not later than two years after Date of Issuance 
An estimated 300,000 Wisconsin citizens lack these forms of ID, a new qualification to vote, narrowly crafted range of acceptable ID to obstruct as many voters as possible.

If the Republicans actually wanted to prevent in-person voting fraud as they endlessly claim, (note they cannot produce one case of in-person voter fraud in Wisconsin among the millions of votes cast), and not obstruct constitutionally qualified, registered voters, the Republicans could simply call for a new constitutional requirement and draft an expansive number of acceptable IDs as a new qualification to vote.

The GOP need look no further than the documents used for proof of residence to register to vote, as a guide to for their acclaimed Voter IDs:

All proof of residence documents must include the voter’s name and current address.
  • A current and valid Wisconsin driver license or identification card
  • Any other official identification card or license issued by a Wisconsin governmental body or unit
  • Any identification card issued by an employer in the normal course of business and bearing a photo of the card holder, but not including a business card
  • A real estate tax bill or receipt for the current year or the year preceding the date of the election.
  • A university, college, or technical college identification card (must include photo) ONLY if the
  • voter provides a fee receipt dated within the last 9 months or the institution provides a certified
  • housing list to the municipal clerk
  • A gas, electric, or telephone service statement (utility bill) for the period commencing no earlier than 90 days before Election Day
  • Bank statement
  • Paycheck
  • A check or other document issued by a unit of government
  • An affidavit on public or private social service agency letterhead identifying a homeless voter and describing the individual’s residence for voting purposes
  • Residential lease that is effective on date of registration. (Not valid if registering by mail)

Why aren't these acceptable to the GOP as voter IDs?

In the federal trial of two Wisconsin challenges, a temporary restraining order to stop the enforcement of Wisconsin Act 23 is probable.

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