Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker in a newly rolled-out initiative and signing of two new anti-voter laws.
In McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, U.S. Supreme Court (12-536), the five-four majority ruled that placing limits on the total amount someone can spend in an election cycle is unconstitutional.
The old doctrine limiting vast amounts of money spent in political campaign as a check against corruption and the appearance of corruption has been rendered void with this ruling.
Any limit on campaign spending is in jeopardy, Court observers say. "Nothing is safe," said Rick Hasan. a professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.
In dissent, four justices note the Court’s decision "eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve."
Meanwhile, Paul Ryan, a long-time foe of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, demonstrates anew that Ryan does not understand what Social Security is, but he wants it gone anyway.
As the news came the Koch brothers poured money into the small County Board races in northern Wisconsin and won five local races, the result of the McCutcheon ruling is that the Kochs could pour money into every municipal, county, state and national political race in the country without limit.
News also broke yesterday that Scott Walker quietly signed two more election bills into law, designed to make registering to vote more difficult and making it impossible for many students, elderly and low-income individuals to vote.
Walker also signed a bill giving election observers the right to stand three feet behind election poll workers, a law that gives GOP election observers effective license in a high turn-out election to harass voters and poll workers, sowing confusion for voters and creating disturbances at the polling place in another effort to obstruct voting.
From Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin:
Apparently restricting early voting was not enough for Governor Walker. Today he signed more extreme election bills into law, including measures that will make it virtually impossible for many qualified citizens to register to vote and will make our polling places more contentious.
Act 182 (formerly SB 267) requires citizens to show proof-of‐residence whenever they register to vote, ending the current practice of allowing the clerk to check residence for people who register early. This will impact many people who have recently moved or are temporarily living with family or friends and who do not have a document such as a Wisconsin driver’s license or bank statement with their own name and current address. It will have a disproportionate impact on students, elderly and low-income individuals.
The Governor’s signing statement glossed over the impact of this new law, stating only that it requires clerks to record the type of document submitted as proof of residence. Apparently the Governor either is not aware of the content of the amended bill he signed or is not proud of having signed it.
Act 177 (formerly AB 202) allows election observers to be as close as three feet from the table where people are checking in or registering at their polling place. That is right behind the election official’s chair and close enough to see a birth date or account number on a proof-of‐residence document.
The League of Women Voters has trained and placed hundreds of election observers in polling places in our state, and we can attest that observers do not need to be that close in order to do their job. Having them hovering over the voting process will compromise voters’ privacy, put pressure on poll workers and make polling places more contentious.
For decades our state has been known for its policies that encourage citizens to be active participants in their government. That begins with voting, and our high voter turnout is something we can be proud of. These extreme new laws signed by Governor Walker will take Wisconsin backward by making it more difficult for many citizens to participate.
As an organization founded by the suffragists who fought for 75 years to win the right to vote for women, the League of Women Voters knows suppression when we see it. While our 17 local Leagues in the state will work to educate and assist voters in complying with the new restrictions, we will also be looking into all possible ways to reverse these unfair laws, including legal action.