Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter ID challenge scott walker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter ID challenge scott walker. Show all posts

Nov 6, 2014

No Mandate for Scott Walker

When President Obama won 52 percent (to 45 percent for Romney) of Wisconsin voters in 2012 with a 73 percent turnout (Washington Post), Republicans complained about the surprising "urban" vote.

Urban means black in Republican lexicon, hence Obama garnered no mandate.

In 2014, Scott Walker has discerned a mandate from the fact that he won 52 percent of the 57 percent turnout of voters, or roughly 28.5 of the Wisconsin electorate (compared to Obama's 36 percent).

Moreover, that Wisconsin Republicans kept their majorities in the gerrymandered legislative districts demands Scott Walker be "even more aggressive" (Spicuzza, Wisconsin State Journal) in pursuing an agenda that 72 percent of the Wisconsin electorate rejected.

This is more than spin from Walker. This is a continuation of the con game that Walker is running on Wisconsin, backed by a corrupt U.S. District judge (Rudolph Randa) who never learned (or doesn't care) what abuse of discretion means.

It is also more confirmation that most people think government is run in the interests of a few, anti-social special interests who want to rig democracy.

Scott Walker doesn't believe he has a mandate any more than he thinks he could mount a credible run for president.

What he can do is run Wisconsin into the ground in the service of special interests, and leave behind a polluted environment and a diminished public education system, among other targets of the GOP's sociopathic wrecking ball.

Oct 6, 2014

Election Law Expert: Easterbrook's Seventh Circuit Opinion: Horrendous

Rick Hasen rushed out a response to the Seventh Circuit's opinion on the merits of Wisconsin's Voter ID cases.

My fav: "The opinion puts forward the narrowest test yet I’ve seen for deciding when a vote denial type claim (which Easterbrook calls a voter qualification claim) violates section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. He cites statistics showing whites are much, ... more likely than blacks in Milwaukee to have a driver’s license (the easiest form of voter id to use in WI if you have it).  No big deal he says: black voting rates are high enough, and so long as “everyone has the same opportunity to get a qualifying voter ID” in Wisconsin there can be no voting rights violation. Never mind that because of past discrimination African-American voters are on average poorer and will have a harder time coming up with the money for the underlying documents for a voter id. The rich and poor can both sleep under bridges. To Easterbrook, one just “scrounges” the money to get the birth certificate—there is no sensitivity that not everyone is as rich as a federal judge."

Easterbrook wants Judge Kagen to throw the case to the full Court.

Kagen will likely at least partially vacate the Seventh Circuit's stay.

Oct 2, 2014

Scholars See Strong Case Wisconsin Voter ID Law Will Be Halted Before Election Day

Reading Prof. Ned Foley's piece this morning on the Due Process Clause questions presented by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's stay of Judge Lynn Adelman's April injunction (April 29, 2014) of Wisconsin's Photo Voter ID law, in Foley's text appeared a eureka moment.

The Seventh Circuit's panel's changing the rules on Sept. 12 after 1,000s of residents had already cast their absentee ballots raises "severe due process claims," Foley said this afternoon reached by phone.

Writes Foley in his article: "The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has been properly interpreted to bar changes in the rules for counting ballots after they have been cast."

Here's a section of Foley's piece (brought to wide attention by Rick Hasen) that brings to the fore Due Process Clause concerns; writes Foley:

There is one more crucial point about the Wisconsin case that has not yet been fully developed. As a factual matter, the emergency stay application observes that absentee ballots have been already been cast based on a rule in place (per the April injunction (by Judge Adelman)) that the new voter ID requirement did not apply.  The Seventh Circuit’s reinstatement of the ID requirement now makes those absentee ballots void and uncountable unless the voters come forth with the required ID—a requirement not in effect at the time when they cast those ballots.  Indeed, the instructions that these absentee voters received with their ballot did not alert them to the need to provide the required ID.  The stay application says that to disenfranchise these absentee voters “after the fact” based on a change in the rules since they cast those ballots would be “unconscionable” (page 14)—unconscionability being a potent "equitable" factor.

But it would be more than unconscionable.  It would be unconstitutional.  The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has been properly interpreted to bar changes in the rules for counting ballots after they have been cast.

The Emergency petition filed this morning to the U.S. Supreme Court did not specifically, to Foley's eye, contain a "citation to these Due Process precedents [Foley mentioned] in the Wisconsin emergency stay application, or an explicit reference to Due Process or the Constitution."

But in Emergency petitions, or "applications" (see A Reporter's Guide to Applications Pending Before the Supreme Court of the United States), Foley said, there is much "flexibility" the U.S. Supreme Court justices have "especially in an emergency petition."

Moreover, said Foley, "the court could research on its own" federal precedents that would bring to the attention of the justice(s) Due Process Clause rights retained by litigants. This is the Supreme Court after all.

Justice Elena Kagan, the justice assigned to the Seventh Circuit, may act on her own; or bring the application to the full Court for consideration, unlikely since Wisconsin's Election Day is some 30 days away on November 4.

Prof. Foley would not speculate but added among the possible outcomes are that Justice Kagan could partially vacate the stay, or vacate the stay entirely bringing our election back to the status quo before the Seventh Circuit's infamous Sept. 12 ruling, a ruling with opinions that have been described as "disingenuous" by Rick Hasen, a respected election law expert.

This afternoon, Justice Kagan ordered Wisconsin represented by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to respond to the Emergency application by October 7, 5:00 pm. That's 28 days before Election Day.

Here is the U.S. Supreme Court docket for the application.

Concludes Foley in his piece:

The affected Wisconsin absentee voters cast their ballots with one set of rules in force at the time. These voters had a reasonable expectation that their ballots would count as cast if they complied with those rules then in force.  To change the rules for counting ballots after they have been cast seems to be one of the most dangerous practices in the administration of an electoral democracy—which is precisely why such a rule-change has been held to violate Due Process.

But an even stronger reason to vacate the stay granted by the Seventh Circuit is that this stay, given the specific facts applicable to the absentee voters, would itself violate the Due Process principle articulated in Griffin v. Burns (570 F.2d 1065 (1st Cir. 1978)) and similar cases.

Writes Rick Hasen today: "C’mon folks. This should be a no brainer. You don’t impose new requirements in the weeks before an election without adequate preparation which runs the serious risk of disenfranchising voters. If the Supreme Court doesn’t recognize that, we are in even worse shape than I thought."

The consolidated cases, (Frank v. Walker, and League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger) have not been heard on their merits in federal appellate court, but Justice Kagan's vacating the stay would preserve the votes of potentially 100,000s of Wisconsin voters this November.

After that, litigation would proceed through the federal court system is an orderly and one hopes not a disingenuous manner.

Must-read Election Analysis by Ned Foley at Moritzlaw.osu

By Edward B. Foley - Moritz College of Law; Charles W. Ebersold and Florence Whitcomb Ebersold Chair in Constitutional Law; Director, Election Law @ Moritz

There is one more crucial point about the Wisconsin case that has not yet been fully developed.  As a factual matter, the emergency stay application observes that absentee ballots have been already been cast based on a rule in place (per the April injunction) that the new voter ID requirement did not apply.  The Seventh Circuit’s reinstatement of the ID requirement now makes those absentee ballots void and uncountable unless the voters come forth with the required ID—a requirement not in effect at the time when they cast those ballots.  Indeed, the instructions that these absentee voters received with their ballot did not alert them to the need to provide the required ID.  The stay application says that to disenfranchise these absentee voters “after the fact” based on a change in the rules since they cast those ballots would be “unconscionable” (page 14)—unconscionability being a potent “equitable” factor.

But it would be more than unconscionable.  It would be unconstitutional.  The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has been properly interpreted to bar changes in the rules for counting ballots after they have been cast.  The leading case, from the First Circuit, is Griffin v. Burns, 570 F.2d 1065 (1st Cir. 1978).  It, too, involved absentee ballots.  Rhode Island election officials had made absentee ballots available to voters.  After the ballots had been cast, the state supreme court ruled that these voters should not have received those ballots.  (It was a primary election, and the state court said absentee ballots were available only in general elections.) Too late, said the First Circuit.  It violates Due Process to give voters ballots telling them they will count if cast and then, after they are cast, say “surprise” they won’t count after all.
H/T to Rick Hasen

Oct 1, 2014

Wisconsin Voter ID Ruling Derided by Election Law Expert as "Disingenuous"

Update: Counting on Wisconsin citizens to not stay current as Republican judges and Scott Walker play with their voting rights, stopping Wisconsin voters from voting is a bone fide movement of the Republican Party.

"For reasons I’ve flagged here, implementing voter id in Wisconsin at the last minute is likely to cause electoral chaos—a point which should be compelling regardless of where you stand on the actual merits of WI implementing its voter id law in an organized way," notes Rick Hasen's latest.
Rick Hasen is a rigorous election law scholar whom most Americans perhaps find boring.

But after the release of the opinions [five-to-five] of the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denying the motion to restore the status quo of the injunction (or blocking) of Wisconsin's Voter ID law, Hasen let lose with a word not normally associated with a federal appellate court: Disingenuous.

Check Hasen's piece out.

The truth of the matter is the formal structures of our democracy are imperiled, along with the substantive functioning.

See also In Wisconsin, a Push for Voter ID Law, But Not Voter IDs. (Fischer, PRWatch)

The Judiciary no longer should be accorded any more respect than a corrupt Chicago alder from the 1960s.

The only problem is that hacks like Judge Rudolph Randa and the goons on the Seventh Circuit rule with the force of law.

Feb 21, 2014

Wisconsin Women Fight for Right to Vote at Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Republican Party's new banner - 
Corrupt, centralized, authoritarian, statist and
bigoted regime
"(A)s a matter of law under the Wisconsin Constitution, sacrificing a qualified elector's right to vote is not a reasonable exercise of the government's prerogative to regulate elections. ... Where does the Wisconsin Constitution say that the government, we, the people, created can simply cast aside the inherent suffrage right of any qualified elector on the wish and promise—even the guarantee—that doing so serves to prevent some unqualified individuals from voting?"

It doesn't. In fact, it unequivocally says the opposite. The right to vote belongs to all Wisconsin citizens who are qualified electors, not just the fortunate majority for whom Act 23 poses little obstacle at the polls."
- Judge Richard Niess. Decision and Order Granting Summary Declaratory Judgment and Permanent Injunction of Wisconsin Voter ID law on March 12, 2012
Even as Ohio, Wisconsin, and other GOP-controlled states advance bills to make voting more difficult, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and allies head to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to fight for the right to vote against a voter obstruction law, Act 23 or the Photo Voter ID.

"We are confident that we have a strong case based on clear language in the state constitution, and we are proud that because of the injunctions, no citizen was disenfranchised by the voter law in five elections in 2012 and 2012," said Melanie G. Raney, president of the League.

The Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1 reads:  "Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district," an expansive guarantee to vote that has been under attack since Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans assumed control of the executive and legislative branches of Wisconsin government in 2011.

Wisconsin's Voter ID law remains enjoined by Wisconsin state courts. The state cases to be heard are League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker and Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker.

Arguments as scheduled to be heard in the ornate Supreme Court room in the Madison state capitol at 9:45 A.M.; February 25. Court room doors open at 9:00 A.M.

WisconsinEye is tentatively scheduled to live stream the arguments on its website online, and on Charter Cable Channel 995 and Time Warner Channel 363.

A holding that Wisconsin's Voter ID law—that effectively denies the franchise to vote for many Wisconsin is constitutional were it not enjoined—would be a spectacular ruling that would bring outrage from the legal and civil rights communities now under political and legal assault.

The League case features a circuit court opinion that Act 23 is unconstitutional on its face, a ruling overturned by a state appellate panel in an opinion written by Judge Brian Blanchard. Voting advocates see this as no bad harbinger.

"(I)n a lengthy footnote, Judge Blanchard distinguished the (League facial challenge) case from another challenge to the law, filed by the NAACP and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera, that provides more extensive evidence that a voter ID requirement would "severely burden a significant number of qualified voters but is not reasonably necessitated or designed to deter fraud or otherwise effect an important government interest," notes Brendan Fisher at PRWatch.

Blanchard's opinion has been roundly criticized and likely will not figure into the legal resolution of the case, though Republicans often cite the opinion.

An increasingly partisan and Republican Legislative Reference Bureau improperly notes the League appellate opinion in added partisan spin in a half-baked annotation of the Wisconsin government's online state constitution's Suffrage section.

Even the published text of Wisconsin's Constitution is not safe from the Republicans' efforts to sanitize public documents of perceived anti-GOP bias. In this instance, the plain language of Wisconsin's expansive Suffrage (voting) guarantees.

The state cases are being heard as two federal cases are under deliberation in federal court.

post-trial brief requesting a federal injunction has been filed after the trial of two consolidated cases arguing violations of the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.

So even if a radical anti-voting ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court were to occur, it is likely that a federal injunction will be granted after the November 2013 federal trial that was a judicial rout of anti-voting forces.

"The credible evidence convincingly proved that Act 23 will impose harsh and widespread burdens on voters. Virtually all of the factual testimony - of Plaintiffs, other voters, non-parties who provide assistance to voters, as well as Defendants and state employees called adversely by  Plaintiffs - went essentially unchallenged by Defendants. All this evidence compels one conclusion:  Act 23 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act ("VRA"), 42 U.S.C. 1973, and the Fourteenth and Twenty -Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and must be enjoined."

Frank v. Walker Post-trial brief challenging Wisconsin Voter ID Law. Act 23—passed with unanimous GOP support, unanimous Democratic opposition and unanimous opposition from civil rights and voting rights citizen groups.

In federal court last November, the ACLU and pro-voting attorneys were legal masters. The ACLU website describes the stakes:

"The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit charging that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is unconstitutional and will deprive citizens of their most fundamental constitutional right – the right to vote. Voter ID laws are the most common type of voter suppression legislation moving through state legislatures across the country as part of a nationwide attack on the right to vote."

Nov 11, 2013

93-year-old Testifies Against Wisconsin Voter ID Law at Trial

Carrie Healey reports that a 93-year-old woman, Lorene Hutchins, testified today at the trial challenging the GOP-passed Wisconsin photo voter ID law, Act 23.

Reports Healey:
"I feel there is a strategy to keep minorities and older people from voting,' the 93-year-old said, according to court transcripts. "Most of us who migrated to Northern states do not have birth certificates, a prerequisite for obtaining the photo ID required to vote. I’ve been voting since the 1940′s when I voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It would be devastating to lose the right to vote now, after all these years.'

Hutchins was born at home in Mississippi because hospitals at that time did not accept black patients, and she did not receive a birth certificate.

Katherine Clark, Hutchins’ daughter, spent over $2,000 and several years to obtain birth certificates for both herself and her mother.
Hutchins testified in the case, League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger (Case 2:12-cv-00185), one of two cases in the consolidated voting rights trial.

The League case is the first trial in the country post-Shelby County v. Holder using Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Act (Section 4) last summer, as noted by The Advancement Project.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he sees "no barriers" to voting; but $2,000 might not seem like a lot of money for Walker whose own salary, healthcare and pension have been funded by taxpayers since 1993.

Writes Healey: "Having watched her family brave angry mobs while trying to vote in Mississippi in the 1920′s, Ms. Hutchins now faces a more subtle, yet no less harmful, barrier to the ballot box," said Advancement Project Staff Attorney Leigh Chapman.

The potentially landmark voting rights trial in Milwaukee is expected to last about another week.

Oct 15, 2013

Republicans Still Trying to Rig Elections in Wisconsin, Citizens Be Damned

Republicans say: Not qualified to vote
Update: Authoring Judge in Landmark Case Disavows His Former Support for Voter ID (Schwartz. NYT)

Doug Chapin, Rick Hasen and the Washington Post note new Republican efforts to micromanage Wisconsin elections right down to the poll worker, and continuing efforts to obstruct voters.

Republican legislative efforts to manage which voters get to vote were deemed unconstitutional in ongoing legal, civil rights fights that will likely continue for years across the nation.

Civil actions continue in Wisconsin state and federal courts, including two consolidated federal cases slated for trial on November 4.

Republicans will of course stick to the James Sensenbrenner-Scott Walker-GOP BS line that photo voter IDs are "common sense" measures to prevent voter impersonation fraud, though the GOP is fully aware no that virtually no voter fraud exists out of the 100s of millions of votes cast.

And potentially 100,000s of Wisconsin citizens could be disenfranchised were Wisconsin's voter ID law made operative in a high-turnout election like that in November 2014. That's in Wisconsin alone.

Chaos, confusion, voter frustration, long lines and anger are the predictable results, with voter disenfranchisement as the objective.

A voter presents a GOP-approved ID, two election inspectors (poll workers) check it for photo resemblance, date and signature and these new qualifications to vote are met.

Oh, sorry Carol, longtime neighbor, you left your license at work: No vote for you!

The One Day Voter ID Was Used in Wisconsin

Let's take a look at the one day, February 14, 2012, in Wisconsin when registered, constitutionally qualified voters were forced to present photo voter IDs when walking up to the poll books before casting their vote.

On February 14, 2012, primary day in Wisconsin, there were no statewide elections; the Wisconsin Government Accountability Office did not estimate voter turn-out because of this fact and the related fact of very low voter-turnout that informed observers guessed was about four percent statewide.

Republicans present this four percent February 2012 primary election is having proceeded swimmingly, and therefore high turnout elections (say 60 percent) will by GOP logic be just fine.

Wrong and wrong.

Reposted from February 2012:

Update III: Madison voters turned away at polls for lacking photo ID. "She was fairly recently in a car accident and couldn't make it to the DOT to get a Wisconsin ID," said Melanie Sax, the chief elections inspector at the polling location at Trinity United Methodist Church on Vilas Avenue. The woman, who does not drive, has neither a driver's license nor a state ID.

That woman is Marge Curtin—disenfranchised.

Update II: 69-year old veteran Gil Paar was shocked when poll workers told him his photo I.D. from the V.A. wasn’t on the accepted list. ... “There’s a possibility that a veteran could have only this type of I.D., because he’s had a stroke, let’s say, up at the V.A. hospital. And because of that, he had his driver’s license taken away. So case in point, he would have only this Veterans Administration I.D. through the hospital.

“And they’re telling me I can’t use it, I couldn’t use it. this is not right. you’ve got a guy who serves, does his time in the Air Force, or Army or the Navy, and then he comes home and can’t vote? What the f—- did I go in for?” (Racine Jounral-Times)

Update: U.S. senators on Tuesday asked the Government Accountability Office to study what they called an "alarming number" of new state laws that will make it "significantly harder" for millions of eligible voters to cast ballots this November.

As an observer from the NAACP looked on, the 200-plus voters in one Fitchburg, Wisconsin voting district yesterday presented an electorate irritated with the GOP's new voter ID requirements.

Wisconsin's voter ID law was passed without any Democratic votes, and no dissenting Republican votes.

Rejected, per the new statute (Act 23), yesterday was an Army Reserve ID that did not include an expiration date.

Many comments from voters were made to election workers: Including "What's next, retina scans?" and "Here to pay my poll tax."

One woman who was inexplicably purged from the polls and tried to re-register objected to the voter registration process as too invasive.

Though the voter ID law, Republicans say, is intended to stop rampant voter impersonation at the polls, not one case of voter impersonation in Wisconsin has been prosecuted going back decades.

But Republicans remain optimistic they can stop enough Democratic-leaning citizens from voting to sway a close election, concentrating on suppressing college and tech students, the elderly and black voters in Milwaukee.

A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute shows that over 177,000 elderly persons in Wisconsin aged 65 and older do not possess a driver's license or state photo identification.

Jun 4, 2013

New GOP Assualt on Voting in Wisconsin Began Mere Days After 2012 Elections, Records Reveal

The right to vote belongs to all Wisconsin citizens who are
qualified electors, under the Wisconsin Constitution.
Sweeping Effort to Suppress Wisconsin Voters Began Two Days After the 2012 Election. Never before has Wisconsin seen
this sustained attacked on voting.

One Wisconsin Now Uncovers Heavy Influence by Top Assembly Leader; Milwaukee Singled Out for Early Voting Restrictions. Milwaukee blacks have long been a target for obstruction, intimidation as the GOP views African-Americans as not full members of society.

You won't see any Wisconsin Republicans renounce this voter obstruction effort and say, 'My God, what are we doing?'

It would be appropriate for every Wisconsin newspaper to advocate the political disqualification of every Republican candidate to the legislature and governor's office who works to prevent the right to vote belonging to all Wisconsin citizens who are qualified electors.

This Republican efforts to erect barriers to vote are an assault against the foundation of the state of Wisconsin's democracy, and every citizen.

From One Wisconsin Now
Madison -- A review of legislative drafting records by One Wisconsin Now has uncovered that Republicans began work to attack state election laws mere days after the November 2012 election and that an omnibus bill on the legislative fast track, introduced by Rep. Jeff Stone, was developed under the close supervision of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross commented, “The Republicans were so obsessed that they failed to win Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes for the seventh election in a row that they started drafting this voter suppression scheme before all the votes in the November 2012 election were counted.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 225 (AB 225), was announced late in the afternoon on the Friday before Memorial Day and is being rushed through the legislative process while much of the public and media attention is focused on the biennial budget. Among the provisions of the bill are:
  • Re-imposition of a voter ID requirement found to be Unconstitutional by lower courts and still subject of state and federal lawsuits
  • Measures making it easier for ballots cast by legal voters to be discounted due to minor clerical errors;
  • Restrictions on early voting hours and essentially eliminate weekend voting in large urban areas;
  • Repeal of the state policy that allows voters to use electronic copies of qualifying documents to verify their residency;
  • Increased partisanship of election regulators at the state Government Accountability Board and in local polling places; and
  • Repeal of campaign transparency requirements and repeal of the 100 year-old-plus ban on corporate contributions.
 “This bill is a massive, across the board assault on voting in Wisconsin. Government ought to be protecting and expanding our right to vote,” said Ross. “But Gov. Walker and top Republican leaders are going in the opposite direction, making it harder and less convenient to vote and easier to toss out votes cast by legal voters.”

Drafting records indicate that work began on one of the more egregious measures included in the package -- limits on early voting hours that effectively ban weekend voting in larger municipalities and eliminate nonpartisan “souls to the polls” drives by churches --- on November 8th 2012, just two days after the November 2012 general election.

A handwritten note associated with the draft of the provisions noted that Milwaukee allowed early voting on weekend and the intent of the bill was to eliminate it.

The work on the omnibus assault on voting was carefully overseen by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ office. Despite the drafting request being made by Assembly Campaigns and Elections chair Rep. Bernier and being introduced by Rep. Jeff Stone, Vos was given explicit permission to review preliminary drafts and correspondence between requesters and drafters. In addition, there is extensive correspondence between Vos staff and legislative attorneys drafting the language of the bill, giving directions and making modifications to the legislation.

Ross concluded, “The real fraud in Wisconsin elections today is politicians like Gov. Walker, Speaker Vos and their partisan underlings manipulating the rules to try to give themselves an unfair political advantage. And Assembly Bill 225 is exhibit A in the case against them.”

May 31, 2013

No Voter ID Remains Law of Land; Pro-democracy Forces Get No Set-back from Narrow Ruling

Blacks voting in rural Alabama - They just won't quit, to the
chagrin and horror of Scott Walker and the Republican Party.
Today, Alabama Republicans says they salute
Scott Walker's Alabama Values.
No cause for alarm for pro-democracy forces in the Wisconsin voter ID appellate court's narrowly tailored decision. This GOP voter obstruction effort remains unconstitutional, pending the big show-down at the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Wisconsin 4th District Court of Appeals in Madison issued a unanimous decision finding the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin's challenge to the Republican voter ID law, Wisconsin Act 23,  is not unconstitutional on its face, as had been ruled in 2012 by a circuit judge.

The League's challenge is a heavy legal assault against the statute—a "facial challenge" in which the state statute as written on its face is asserted to be unconstitutional, opposed to how the statute would be applied in practice.

"In sum, the League has presented no basis to conclude that it has met its heavy burden in this facial constitutional challenge," reads the appellate decision in part. This appellate decision does not affect another circuit court injunction preventing the voter ID act from taking effect. Two other federal legal challenges have been filed against the Wisconsin voter ID act as well.

In federal court, the landmark case, Crawford et al. v. Marion County (Indiana) Election Board et al. (no. 07–21, 2008), is regarded as controlling other voter ID cases wherein federal challenges have been made to other state Republican laws seen as unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution.

This is significant because the plaintiffs in Crawford challenged a Indiana law (similar to Wisconsin's) as unconstitutional on its face under the weak United State Constitution, which has no affirmative right to vote for American citizens in its text, as opposed to the Wisconsin Constitution.

Wisconsin is better for voters because of the Wisconsin Constitution. A facial challenge to GOP voter obstruction statutes may fail in federal court, but ought not to fail in Wisconsin courts.

As for the merits of the appellate decision, consider a voter who is:
  • constitutionally qualified to vote
  • registered to vote
  • has been voting for years
Under the 2011 GOP's voter ID law, a registered, constitutionally qualified voter goes the polls to vote, vested with this franchise to vote, walks to the polling table as she or he has for years, but under the GOP's voter ID law (were it not legally prevented from taking effect under Judge David Flanagan's order) is now stopped from voting by the GOP's new statutory condition to cast a vote, if she or he does not possess the GOP-prescribed, new voter ID.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (1981-2006) warned recently against politicians in judicial robes issuing partisan decisions solely to benefit secret interests, subverting the rule of law.

Justice O'Conner may with equal justice have also warned against the obtuse, uncomprehending Wisconsin appellate Justices Lundsten, Higginbotham, and Blanchard who evidently do not relate the text of Act 23 to the 100,000s of Wisconsin citizens like 85-year-old Ruthell Frank who would report to the polls as she has for over 60 years in Brokaw, Wisconsin and now be told she is not qualified to vote under Act 23, because she does not have the additional qualification of a driver's license or other GOP-prescribed ID.

Why the three appellate justices fail to comprehend that Act 23 is not on it face "sufficiently narrow to avoid needless and significant impairment of the right to vote," as Judge David Flanagan writes in striking down the statute in a different case on Act 23, is mystifying to those who regard the Wisconsin Constitution as a strong protector of the sovereign people of Wisconsin [as noted in Wis. Const, art III, section 1] Wood v. Baker, 38 Wis. 71: (August 1875)] Wisc. - Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Even the Wisconsin Republican Party's corrupt Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (Republican) who begged that the voter ID bill be reinstated before the 2012 presidential election has admitted the voter ID act will obstruct voters, warning in March 2012 that "those relying on the injunction (stopping the Voter ID Act from taking effect) may be left without an opportunity to obtain their IDs by the date of the election."

As noted here, the GOP and Van Hollen make a habit of trying to obstruct Wisconsin voters.

In 2008, Van Hollen after secretly consulting with the GOP proposed an exact match of voters' names in bureacracies' databases is a new condition to voting, a ridiculous argument that was tossed out of court never to see the light of court again after the 2008 presidential election.

Jurists contacted over the course of the years since 2011 have agreed with statements made on background, "I don't think they [the four Republican justices] will vote to uphold the [voter ID] law. It would be too blatant a partisan display."

I am not as sure as I was a year ago that I agree with this statement.

May 30, 2013

GOP's New Voter Suppression Effort—Negation of Wisconsin's Expansive Right to Vote

Update: The 4th District Court of Appeals in Madison just issued a narrow ruling overturning Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess' order finding the voter ID law unconstitutional on its face in 2012. No jurist contacted expected this unanimous three-judge ruling.

In a separate case, Judge David Flanagan had permanently and immediately halted enforcement and implementation of the Republicans' voter ID-obstruction act in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP et al v. Walker (Case 11CV5492) after a trial in 2012.

The Voter ID law remains halted from taking effect, and in the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669) ruling just struck down may result in the voting rights groups waiting to see how the two federal court cases challenging the voter obstruction law are settled.

Voter IDs are unconstitutional under the Wisconsin Constitution, so the new GOP voter ID initiative mandates two new, extra-constitutional requirements for citizens to vote

What if we lived in a democracy where the right to vote is guaranteed in the Constitution?

The state of Wisconsin is such a democracy; the United States of America, not so much.

Hence, the emergence of Democratic Party efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to guarantee the right to vote affirmatively and categorically, as the Wisconsin Constitution does.

The effort is led by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).

But protecting the vote has met a cold reception from Wisconsin and national Republicans.

No Republican in Congress to this point has joined in the effort to protect voting, and in the states, Republican aversion to voting is worse.

Why would that be?

One obvious answer is that Republicans are busy obstructing the vote, an objective running counter to the effort to protect the vote.

The current project by Wisconsin Republicans resumes their party's attack on the wrong kind of people voting.

The GOP has made the correct assessment that the corporate press will play stenographer and uncritically run GOP lies on alleged voter fraud and voter IDs in support of the GOP effort to obstruct the vote.

Thus there are little immediate political consequences, beyond further aggravating college students, minorities, working class families, and civil libertarians (aka liberals) who have historically voted for Democrats. This is exactly the reason why the GOP wants to repress them from voting.

But the Wisconsin Constitution remains, specifically Article III, Section 1: "Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

Facing this Wisconsin Constitution, Republicans are desperately trying to get around the fact that Republicans can produce ZERO voter fraud prosecutions of "voter fraud violation(s) that would have been prevented by the voter ID requirements of Act 23, (the GOP's voter ID law)," as Judge David Flanagan ruled in his permanent injunction order issued of July 17, 2012.

This reality extends across the nation, but has not permeated the political consciousness of the body politic, so the GOP will simply emit comments that voter IDs are "common sense," with the assurance that the press will not call them on this nonsense.

But voter IDs are unconstitutional under the Wisconsin Constitution, so (as been noted) the new voter ID initiative mandates two new, extra-constitutional requirements for citizens to vote: A voter's vocal oath administered only by the Chief Election Inspector, and then a voter's signing of an additional written statement explaining why he or she does not have an ID.

This alternative is intended to present a convoluted path to vote so that registered, constitutionally qualified voters can vote so long as they do not mind this per se harassment and humiliation, an elevated public scrutiny of voters' qualifications as Wisconsin citizens, intended to input confusion, frustration, and ultimately disenfranchisement into the voting process.

This is an undue burden on some registered, constitutionally qualified voters, and after the Republicans ram this new voter obstruction bill into law, it ought to be struck down as unconstitutional, and not some harmless exercise in regulating elections. It will be, while the legislature ignores other much-needed policy discussion and enactment.

As Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess wrote in striking down the GOP's voter ID law as unconstitutional on its face in March  2012:

Our Constitution is a line in the sand drawn by the sovereign authority in this state - the people of Wisconsin - that the legislature, governor and the courts may not cross ... (.) Where does the Wisconsin Constitution say that the government we, the people, created can simply cast aside the inherent rights of any qualified elector on the wish and promise - even the guarantee - that doing so serves to prevent some unqualified individuals from voting.

It doesn't. In fact, it unequivocally says the opposite. The right to vote belongs to all Wisconsin citizens who are qualified electors, not just the fortunate majority for whom Act 23 [the voter ID law] poses little obstacle at the polls.
This new GOP obstacle -- mandated harassment and public scrutiny of some voters -- crosses the constitutional line in the sand to further the GOP's partisan objectives.   Perhaps, a trial will need to be held on this new law after it is passed and signed, to show the damage the law would do.  

Meanwhile, the GOP will call trashing the Wisconsin Constitution "common sense," but crafting new ways to get around the sovereign authority in this state -- the people of Wisconsin -- is unwise, unjust and unconstitutional. It also is not what the people of Wisconsin sent these legislators to Madison to do -- it is frivolous and wasting time when there are -- or should be -- urgent items on the agenda.

May 29, 2013

Republicans Reintroduce Voter ID Mandate Already Found Unconstitutional

The Republican Party's war on voting continues in Wisconsin.

The objective in a new GOP initiative is to make voting such a pain that voters will grow discouraged and give up in the face of longer lines and confusion.

While Dee Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal flacks for another Republican Party attempt to obstruct Wisconsin voters from voting, Republicans are reintroducing a bill mandating photo IDs as a precondition to vote.

Absent a photo ID, the GOP's soon-to-be-introduced bill demands two new, extra-constitutional requirements for citizens to vote: A voter's vocal oath administered only by the Chief Election Inspector, and then a voter's signing of an additional written statement explaining why.

This is proposed state harassment of a minority of Wisconsin voters for not having an ID, pure and simple.

Hall writes, that the "voter ID requirement, passed in 2011, has been tied up in the courts and currently is not in effect."

Tied up in the courts is a misleading way to describe the status of one political party's (and only one—the Republicans') attack on voting.

Actually, the voter ID law has been found to be unconstitutional by two separate state courts; has been heard in a trial held in state circuit court in 2012; has been found to be unconstitutional on its face by a second circuit court; and faces two more challenges in federal court, including a trial scheduled to be heard in federal court in 2013.

Hall's fallacious reporting on voter ID represents the best in the Wisconsin corporate press on the topic.

The new GOP move comes one month after the introduction of another GOP bill, Assembly Bill 161 (and Senate Bill 154), that would by law negate a judicial finding of a statute like voter ID ruled unconstitutional, if Republicans object to the judicial ruling.

"This Republican bill is the single largest assault on voter rights our state has ever seen," writes Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director, referring to the flurry of proposed changes to Wisconsin elections and restrictions on voting supporting solely by Republicans.

This new GOP-proposed precondition to voting in Wisconsin is that already-registered and constitutionally qualified voters who do not possess GOP-prescribed voter ids, must instead take a vocal oath or affirmation administered by the Chief Election Inspector, and then sign an additional written statement explaining why voter ids are not possessed.

There is only one Chief Election Inspector at one polling place, and typically she is busy and overworked during heavy-turn-out elections.

The resulting delays and confusion at polling places during heavy-turn-out elections would of course result in long lines and voter discouragement, which are precisely the Republican Party's longstanding objectives.

Wisconsin has an expansive, constitutionally guaranteed right to vote in the Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1, reading in part: "Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

In state court, Judge David Flanagan has permanently and immediately halted enforcement and implementation of the Republicans' voter ID-obstruction act in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP et al v. Walker (Case 11CV5492) in a July 2012 decision.

Writes Flanagan: "Act 23 (Wisconsin Voter ID law) addresses a problem which is very limited, if it indeed exists. It does not appear to recognise or to account for the difficulty its demands impose upon indigent and elderly citizens who are eligible under the constitution to vote. It offers no flexibility, no alternative to prevent the exclusion of a constitutionally qualified voter. Given the sacred, fundamental interest at issue, it is clear that Act 23, while perhaps addressing a legitimate concern, is not sufficiently narrow to avoid needless and significant impairment of the right to vote. The enactment steps beyond the proper authority of the legislature and is in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1."

The new GOP bill is an attempt to get around the Wisconsin Constitution's sacred right to vote, and in the process serve the GOP objectives of suppressing Wisconsin voters for GOP partisan advantage.

Apr 11, 2013

Scott Walker's Law and Disorder

Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are fast-tracking proposed legislation that would curtail the power of circuit judges' orders issuing temporary injunctions [legal blocking] of unconstitutional laws.

This soon-to-be legislative act is a GOP power grab and an attack on the judiciary branch of government, specifically restricting the power of judges to protect citizens from unconstitutional infringements by the legislative and executive branches of state government.

The purpose of a temporary injunction is to maintain the status quo and prevent irreparable damage before the legal questions of a law are decided in a court of law.

The standard for issuing a temporary injunction includes the element that those asking for the blocking (temporary injunction) of a law have a high likelihood of success when the merits are weighed in a legal hearing. This is a high legal bar to reach.

The significance of the new Republican initative—now being circulated around the legislature as more Republicans sign on as co-sponsors with a deadline of April 15—is that unconstitutional laws may remain in effect for (possibly) long periods of time during which the Republicans, who now control the legislature and the governor's office and the Supreme Court, may use the cover of unconstitutional laws for corrupt, partisan purposes.

The proposed bill would radically change existing statuary law regarding the legal effect of judicial injunctions, restraining orders, or other orders suspending or restraining (halting through temporary injunctive relief) the enforcement of any state statute.

This soon-to-be bill turns the power of temporary injunctive relief on its head, and demands that so-called aggrieved parties of judges' orders against likely unconstitutional laws, be given new power in this proposed reworking of the judicial process that is (as usual in Wisconsin) supported solely by the Republican Party.

Voter ID Law-An Example

For example, consider Wisconsin's Voter ID Law singed into law in May 2011, some four months after Scott Walker assumed office

A request to temporarily stop (enjoin) Wisconsin's Voter ID law (passed solely with Republican support) was granted by Dane County Judge David Flanagan on March 6, 2012 in the case, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, et al v. Walker.

During the subsequent Voter ID trial held on April 16-April 19 and May 4, 2012, the Voter ID law was prevented by the March 6, 2012 injunction order of Judge Flanagan from being enforced because of the clear violation of the fundamental (and expansive) right to vote that Wisconsin citizens have under the Wisconsin Constitution.

After, and as a direct result of the April-May 1012 trial, Judge Flanagan issued a permanent injunction on July 17, 2012.

Between March 6, 2012 and July 17, 2012, there were three elections held in Wisconsin, on April 3, May 8, and June 5, 2012.

In the three elections combined, 100,000s of registered, constitutionally qualified Wisconsin voters would have been stopped from being able to vote—per the objective of the Republican Party of Wisconsin—had this newly proposed legislative act been in effect (assuming of course a Republican attorney had filed petition for review [review by an appellate-level court] within 10 days of the March 6, 2012, temporary injunction ordered by Judge Flanagan).

The proposed act by Republicans extends the time their unconstitutional laws are in force, inflicting as is Scott Walker's wont and history, damage onto political opponents and the rights of Wisconsin citizens, and advancing GOP objectives.

The Republicans claim they need this proposed act to reduce the "legal uncertainty" surrounding GOP laws that are being struck down as unconstitutional.

Following is a reproduction of the memo from Republican legislators seeking co-sponsors.
TO: All Legislators
FROM: Rep. Dave Craig, Rep. Al Ott, Sen. Glen Grothman and Sen. Leah Vukmir
RE: Co-Sponsorship of LRB-0926/1: Relating to injunctions on state statute.
Date: April 10, 2013

Deadline for Co-Sponsorship: Monday, April 15 at 12pm

We are introducing LRB 0926/1 to address the legal uncertainty Wisconsin residents and businesses are subject to as a result of injunctions on state statutes, ordered by judges only elected by a fraction of our state’s population. Increasingly, questions have been raised as to a) whether individual circuit court judges’ rulings impact the state as a whole in regards to the implementation of state law; and b) whether a ruling from a judge - elected by a small portion of the state - should prevent the statewide implementation of legislation passed by the duly elected statewide legislature, and signed by our Governor, having also been elected statewide, without allowing for an expedited review by a higher court.

Under this bill, if a circuit court or court of appeals places an injunction, restraining order, or other order that, upon entry, suspends or restrains the implementation of any state statute, it would be immediately appealable to a higher court. If such an appeal is made to a higher court within 10 days of entry of the lower court’s order, the lower court’s order will be immediately stayed pending an order by a higher court or a final and unappealable order disposing of the entire case. Nothing in this legislation would prevent any court from entering an order that suspends or restrains the implementation of a state statute, or prevents a higher court from removing the stay should the higher court determine the lower courts order was reached appropriately.

This legislation would facilitate a fair and more efficient judicial system by ensuring that one judge cannot prevent the implementation of state law without an expedited review by a higher court. This legislation would also ensure that Wisconsin residents and businesses have a greater degree of certainty as to whether a law is or is not in effect during the disposition of a legal challenge. Lastly, this bill reaffirms that the three branches of our government remain separate, but equal.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring LRB 0926/1, please reply to this email by 12:00pm on Monday, April 15, 2013. Unless you request otherwise, you will be listed as a co-sponsor on both LRB 0926/1 and its Senate companion LRB-1131/1. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Rep. Craig’s office (6-3363) or Sen. Grothman’s office (6-7513).

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

Generally, under current law, an interlocutory or final judgment issued by a court in an action for an injunction may not be stayed after the entry of the judgment or during the pendency of an appeal. This bill makes an injunction, restraining order, or other order that, upon entry, suspends or restrains the enforcement of any state statute (order) immediately appealable to an appellate court or to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. If a petition for interlocutory review is filed within ten days after the entry of the order, the order is stayed until one of the following occurs:

1. The appellate court or the Supreme Court grants the petition for interlocutory review and subsequently orders that the automatic stay be lifted.

2. The appellate court or the Supreme Court denies the petition for interlocutory review and simultaneously orders that the automatic stay be lifted.

3. Entry of a final and unappealable order disposing of the entire case.

The bill permits the appellate court or the Supreme Court to enter such orders as are necessary to the resolution of the petition.

Apr 1, 2013

Stopping that 'Urban' Vote

Update: Here we are, March 2014. The Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act a year ago; Republican attacks on early voting in cities continue; Republicans enact obstructive voter ID laws in state where they have power; and Paul Ryan keeps sounding the racist dog whistles about the "inner cities." In Wisconsin, Right Wisconsin, a new Tea Bagger website, is known among political writers as White Wisconsin. Thousands of Scott Walker and his aides' emails are ordered released, and racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic jokes are found to circulate freely in Scott Walker land.

Racism and misogyny are the theme songs for a political party that has become detestable.
"Well, I could call my good friend, Lenny Kravitz. He's only half-urban," said (in disgust) the fictional talk show producer, Artie, in the hilarious Larry Sanders Show (HBO. 1992-1998).

Artie refers to the fictional network's concern that the guest rap group, Wu-Tang Clan, is too black and scary for small-town white America.

The relevancy to today's politics is that the Republican Party and the Tea Party will not halt their voter obstruction program aimed at 'urban' voters, and use the same euphemism, urban for black.

The difference between elections and comedy is depriving Americans of the right to vote is not a funny matter, outside of Tea Party and GOP circles where a sitting GOP member of Congress feels free to make "wet back" jokes on the radio.

Without racism, the GOP and Tea Party (the white parties) are dead.

In Wisconsin, urban means Milwaukee, Kenosha and Racine counties. Along with Dane County, these four counties comprise some one-third of Wisconsin's 2012 presidential election voting total.

The GOP stops enough 'urban' people voting, and they win.

The current national GOP chair is Wisconsin GOP's voter obstruction operative, Reince Priebus, so look for this contemptible voter obstruction program to continue regardless of wins the Wisconsin Supreme Court race.

As Paul Ryan said after the 2012 presidential election, "The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race." (Shear, Steinhauer. NYT. Nov. 13, 2012)

Those "urban" voters—almost a half century after the civil rights movement's legislative accomplishments like the Voting Rights Act, they still don't know their place.

Maybe the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court (and the four Republicans on the Wisconsin Supreme Court) can take care of this "urban" problem.

Jan 14, 2013

Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies GOP Move to Bypass Courts on Voter ID-Obstruction Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has again refused to bypass a court of appeals ruling today holding the Wisconsin GOP voter ID law unconstitutional on its face.

Some four weeks before the February primary election of GOP Supreme Court justice, Patience Drake Roggensack, naked acts of political corruption appear unwise.

The Court's decision is a sign that when the voter ID cases do reach the Wisconsin supreme court, the four GOP justices will not rule against the Wisconsin Constitution and overturn the two permanent injunctions of the lower courts because this action would be too blatant a display of corruption—a view that is conventional wisdom among Wisconsin jurists contacted the past months who are not involved in the cases.

The high court similarly refused to take up the GOP voter ID cases in April 2012.

The court also refused today to consolidate the two state cases that are now before two different Wisconsin appellate courts.

Two state appellate courts have held the GOP voter ID law is permanently enjoined from taking effect.

The voter ID law was passed with only GOP votes, with no GOP dissents, and against the counsel of every good government and civil rights organization.

The motion refused by the court was made by Wisconsin's partisan attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen who faces an election in 2014.

Wisconsin's Constitution, Article III, Section 1—"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."—strongly protects the right of citizens to vote against the efforts of politicians obstructing citizens' constitutional right to vote.

A government that undermines the right to vote imperils its own legitimacy as a government 'by the people, for the people and especially of the people,' (Judge Richard) Niess wrote in a decision striking down the GOP law. 'It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution' (Treleven, WSJ).

Two other federal cases also have also been filed against Wisconsin's voter ID law:  Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin); and Jones et al v. Deininger et al (Case 2:12-cv-00185), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin).

In a federal case, evidence has been obtained by Monica Wedgewood, an intern working for the ACLU, that military veterans would be prevented from voting, if the GOP law were to take ever take effect.

Jul 15, 2012

GOP wants rigged game

Obstruct the vote; and draw legislative districts to elect Republicans.

Farm the details out to a law firm who provides free legal services to a Supreme Court justice, Michael Gableman, who will decide on cases arising from the GOP's machinations.

Jun 19, 2012

Study: 63,000 eligible voters would be blocked by GOP voter obstruction law

Update: In a continuing and blatant lie, GOP still crying, "voter fraud." This time is in John Lehman (D)-Sen. Van Wanggaard (R) recount. Corporate media plays dumb again; media may not be pretending.

In one county alone.

Plaintiffs in Frank v. Walker, (Case No 2.11-cv-1128), challenging the GOP voter ID act in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin have released social scientific research concluding that Latino and African American eligible voters in Milwaukee County are disproportionally likely not to have Republican-approved voter IDs.

The social scientific findings in the study specifically researching the February 2012 Wisconsin primary present evidence in the federal challenge bolstering the plaintiffs' case in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (No 07-21) (2008) upholding an Indiana voter ID law.

The landmark Crawford case is seen by civil rights experts as compelling "future challenges to voter laws [to] be filed with respect to the application of a specific law—after its controversial mandates are already applied in an election," as noted by the Brennan Center, a leading civil rights organization. [See also Justin Levitt's The Truth About Voter Fraud.]

The Crawford case featured a challenge to Indiana's law as unconstitutional on its face, a high legal hurdle that many observers see as a tactical mistake in retrospect as one rationale behind the Crawford ruling is lack people disenfranchised presented in the court record.

With a mountain of evidence demonstrating disenfranchisement, the Frank plaintiffs may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court amid national and state Republican determination to obstruct non-Republican voting citizens.

For more information see Out in the Cold at Age 84: Wisconsin's Ruthelle Frank Fights for Her Right to Vote and the Frank et al v. Walker complaint.
From the Pew Center on the States

The battle over voter ID continues, and in Wisconsin, it is being fought in the courtroom. Two (state) judges recently blocked the state’s law requiring photo ID at the polls from taking effect.

Plaintiffs opposing the law in federal court retained researchers to examine the rates of possession of accepted photo ID among the voting eligible population (VEP) and registered voters in Milwaukee County, the state’s most populous county.

Based on survey results, 9.5 percent of the county’s VEP—slightly more than 63,000 eligible voters—and 8.7 percent of registered voters were found to lack the proper ID.

The findings also revealed the rates of inadequate identification were significantly higher than the countywide figure among minorities but lower among white voters:
  • 14.9 percent of eligible and 11.3 percent of registered Latinos
  • 13.2 percent of eligible and 15.3 percent of registered African-Americans
  • 7.4 of eligible and 6.0 percent of registered Whites
The study concludes in part:

....Wisconsin('s) voter ID law, which requires individual to possess an accepted form of photo ID before being granted access to a ballot, disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, an those of low socio-economic status. (Barreto, Sanchez. p. 32)

Apr 2, 2012

US Justice Department to monitor Tuesday's election in Wisconsin

Ruthelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin fights for
her right to vote against Scott Walker
- Image from the Brad Blog
Update: Wisconsin Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID cases (April 16, 2012)

If the four GOP justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturn a century of precedent, and the Wisconsin Constitution in voting to uphold the GOP voter ID-voter impersonation bill in Wisconsin, the GOP voter obstruction project still has two federal civil rights cases with which to contend in our state.

The AP reports today that the U.S. Justice Department will monitor Tuesday's election in Wisconsin, "to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and other federal voting rights laws," in Milwaukee.

The presense of the U.S. Justice Department may very well result in more empirical data that could be used in the two federal cases listed below.

Ruthelle Frank, a co-plaintiff in Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, was disenfranchised in the February 21 Spring Primary election, missing voting for the first time in 60 years.

She is happy about the U.S. Justice Department invovlement, but remains upset about the voter id law.

As the Voter ID law is now under a permanent injunction pending it appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Ms. Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin was able to cast her vote absentee in the April 3 Spring and Wisconsin Presidential Preference Election.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Frank said she is optimistic but is still in a fighting mood because of this "disgrace," to "democracy."

"You live in the same house for 83 years, in the same place, and you haven't got a right to vote because of this [voter id] law; it's a little dumb," said Ms. Frank. "I wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer."

Frank notes her story would not likely have gotten out were it not for the efforts of journalist, Robert Mentzer last year who broke the story in the Wausau Daily Herald. "I called up Bob Mentzer of the Wausau Daily Herald and told him what was going on; and he just said, 'he's driving over,'" said Frank in March.

Wisconsin federal court cases
Wisconsin State Cases
Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1
"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

GOP Politics Bombards Younger Generations

A piece today spells out some of the reasons younger voters are fleeing the Republican Party.

Don't agree with some of the analysis but worth a read; Stephen Marche in Esquire. The War Against Youth.

Having obliterated the economic futures of younger Americans, Mike Lofgren, long-time Republican Congressional staffer, reminds us last year that Social Security and Medicare are next on the chopping block for when younger generations get older.

And Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney promise to lead the way.

Is there any question why the GOP tries to stop these young Americans from voting?

With "Obama Trouncing GOP Candidates Among Female Voters," there is a distinct possibility we may just see a wave election after all, if the GOP fails in its voter obstruction project.


Across the country, state branches of the Republican party are making a thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise the young through "voting reform." The trick is simple: Require government-issue photo ID before allowing somebody to vote. Eighteen percent of young voters don't have current photo IDs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has signed this "reform" into law. So has Rick Perry in Texas. Similar new rules are going forward in roughly thirty other states. Restricting out-of-state IDs is a natural next step, already under way: That way, thousands of college students won't be able to vote. The Advancement Project, a civil-rights advocacy group, calls the move "the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century."