Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter obstruction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter obstruction. Show all posts

Nov 3, 2014

Wisconsin Says Thank You to Attorney General Eric Holder on Election Day

Feds Fighting Back Republican Voter Obstruction Effort

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, led by Scott Walker, has long worked to block black and brown people living in Milwaukee (among others) from voting.

The U.S. Dept of Justice announced yesterday federal monitors are being dispatched to Milwaukee voting locations, along with 27 other jurisdictions across the county.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced the move to protect voting rights yesterday. (U.S. DoJ and BuzzFlash)

Holder, in the statement Monday, said, "Over the last few months, leaders from the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division have received information from a wide variety of citizens and groups. Based upon our independent and non-partisan consideration and expertise, we have dispatched federal monitors to polling places around the country — just as we do during every election season."

Now, more than ever in Wisconsin's history, we need the Voting Rights section of the Civil Rights division of the U.S. Dept of Justice to protect our sacred right to vote.

No Voter ID Needed, Just Vote

Update: The U.S. Dept of Justice will monitor Milwaukee, Wisconsin voting locations, along with 27 other jurisdictions across the county, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today. (U.S. DoJ and BuzzFlash)

Holder, in a statement Monday, said of the effort, "Over the last few months, leaders from the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division have received information from a wide variety of citizens and groups. Based upon our independent and non-partisan consideration and expertise, we have dispatched federal monitors to polling places around the country — just as we do during every election season."
Republican efforts to block black and brown people living in Milwaukee from voting are a key element of Scott Walker's reelection campaign.


Despite the worst efforts of Republicans to obstruct voters, no voter ID is needed this Election Day in Wisconsin.

If you are not registered to vote, you can register at the polls on Election Day.

Many voters still lack accurate knowledge that NO VOTER ID IS NEEDED to VOTE.

Skipped over in coverage in the late October Marquette University Law School poll (Question 44) is the fact that 29 percent of respondents believed erroneously there is no U.S. Supreme Court order preventing the GOP's voter ID law from going into effect on Election Day. Another 14 percent did not know.

No voter ID is needed to vote in Wisconsin.

Registering to vote

You do need to be registered to vote. To register at the polls on Election Day, bring proof of who you are, and where you live (proof of residence). Folks who need to register are those who have not voted in four years or have moved since the last election. Check if you are registered online.

If registration lines are too long, call the municipal clerk and demand more registration stations be set up. Long registration lines show the election clerk screwed up. Election clerks are public servants, with salary and benefits paid with public dollars. Remember that.

There is a voter bulletin board at election sites with phone numbers of municipal, state and federal officials.

"During major statewide elections, 10 – 15 percent of Wisconsin electors register to vote or update their voter registration on Election Day," notes the Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board (GAB).

Republican criminal interference with voter

If you see Republicans interfering with a voter, call all municipal, state and federal officials and watchdog agencies like the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and inform you see a crime in progress.

Interfering with the process to vote is a criminal offense. Scott Walker is coming off a bad week and Republicans will try to stop voters from voting if they feel they can get away with it without being charged with a criminal offense.

So, advise jotting down the contact information on voter bulletin boards at election sites with the phone numbers of municipal, state and federal officials to protect voting rights.

If everyone who voted in 2012 votes on November 4, Scott Walker is a diminishing stain in Wisconsin history.

No one will ever confuse Wisconsin election bureaucrats with voting rights activists. Each voter needs to police Republicans.

As Joel Bleifuss writes today: "The results of the 2014 midterms—whether the Republicans take control of the Senate and whether GOP governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker win re-election—will tell us if Jim Crow is alive and well and helping the Right win its stealth war against democracy."

Thank you, Joel, and long live Wisconsin.

Jul 2, 2013

Prediction: Wisconsin High Court to Rule Voter ID Violates Constitution

Present your papers or you cannot vote,
 Republicans want Wisconsin Act 23 back
to block the wrong kind of voters
If-ya-can't beat 'em, disenfranchise 'em. The purpose of photo ID can be seen in the adverse impact on the poor, the elderly, minorities and students, none of whom tend to vote for GOP candidates. This is by design.

But the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV blew a major voting rights case, and badly, reversing the decision in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc and Melanie G. Ramey, et al v. Scott Walker, et al.

And word is getting around fast in the Wisconsin legal community some 35 days after the publication of the opinion.

An editorial in today's Capital Times is optimistic that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will ultimately rule that the GOP-passed Voter ID law is unconstitutional.

Most jurists contacted the last two years agree the photo voter ID law will be struck down under the Wisconsin Constitution's expansive guarantee to vote.

Two jurists, with whom I have not spoken, disagree. The most prominent being Richard M. Esenberg of the Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School Professor, Ann Althouse.

The case at hand, and there are three other legal challenges pending, is League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669).

A permanent injunction was issued on March 12, 2012 by Judge Richard G. Niess, followed by a Court of Appeals opinion reversing Judge Niess' permanent injunction on May 30, 2013.

A petition was filed on June 28, 2013 for a hearing before Wisconsin Supreme Court. [Note: If you want to keep up with the four Wisconsin Voter ID cases, I recommend the Ohio State University Election Law at Moritz, an institution deserving of a MacArthur Fellowship genius grant for their work.]

Judge Neiss ruled that Wisconsin's photo ID law was unconstitutional "on its face," a heavy burden as noted by the appellate court reversing Neiss' ruling some 15 months later.

Neiss' opinion reads that the "right to vote belongs to all Wisconsin citizens who are qualified electors, not just the fortunate majority for whom [the photo ID law] poses little obstacle at the polls."

Wisconsin's 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."

The Constitution is explicit is listing the types of laws that can be enacted excluding otherwise eligible voters in Section 2 (under Article III - Suffrage). These laws deal with residency, registration and felons and citizens judged incompetent.

As Niess notes: "2011 Wisconsin Act 23 [the Photo Voter ID law] ... provides that qualified electors under the Wisconsin Constitution may not vote in an election unless they also satisfy the additional requirement that they display acceptable government-sanctioned photo identification either at the polls or to election official by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election."

Niess found that a constitutionally qualified, registered voter who on election day walks over to the polling table and is asked by an election inspector, in essence, "your papers, please," presents a new unconstitutional qualification to vote—a photo voter ID as prescribed by the Republican Party.

So, he found Wisconsin Act 23 unconstitutional on its face.

Presenting a photo ID is what Act 23 demands as a necessary condition in the plain language of Act 23.

Yet, incredibly the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV says although this is true and Act 23 does deprive a qualified elector of his right to vote at an election, the Act is not "so burdensome that it effectively denies potential voters their right to vote ... ."

The appellate court's ruling is narrow, and much of the opinion claims their conclusions rest on the briefs of the plaintiffs speaking to the view that a qualification is not really a qualification, but ask around:  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV whiffed.

Writes Niess:

Article III is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says. It creates both necessary and sufficient requirements for qualified voters. Every United States citizen 18 years or older who resides in an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector in that district, unless excluded by duly enacted laws banning certain felons or adjudicated incompetents/partially incompetents.

The government may not disqualify an elector who possess those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutory-created qualifications not contained in Article II such as a photo ID.
Althouse in a short column argues against Niess' reasoning:

To agree with the [Judge Niess], I think you need to see a person without an ID as a type of person who is being excluded from the right to vote [apart from the constitutionally permissible felons and those judged-incompetent in Article III, Section 2] ... There's just a step in the process that hasn't been completed. To say not presenting an ID is excluding you from the category of people permitted to vote seems like saying people who don't go to the polls when the polls are open are being excluded. It would be strange to say closing the polls at 8 is creating a new category of disqualified voters — those people who do not arrive before 8.
The Wisconsin Constitution does empower the legislature and governor to regulate elections. But the constitutional text is explicit and limited in Article III, Section 2, and enumerates five different categories empowering the legislature and governor to regulate elections.

Which of the five categories in Article III, Section 2 would Esenberg and Althouse contend photo voter ID falls?

Since when is what Althouse calls a "step" not a qualification when this step is either impossible or impractical for constitutionally qualified, registered voters to achieve?

Judge Niess on p. 3 of his opinion explains the primacy of the Wisconsin voter, and quotes a Wisconsin Supreme Court case, Dells v. Kennedy, 49 Wis 555, 6 N.W. 246, 246-247 (1880) (spelling in original), written by Chief Justice Orsamus Cole (1880-1892) [Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1855-1892)].

One wonders if Esenberg and Althouse will throw in the towel after a reading of Dells v. Kennedy. Perhaps the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV members may wish as well to take a read.

Chief Justice Orsamus Cole writes in part in Dells v. Kennedy (1880):

The elector possessing the qualifications prescribed by the constitution is invested with the constitutional right to vote at any election in this state. These qualifications are explicit, exclusive, and unqualified by any exceptions, provisos or conditions, and the constitution, either directly or by implication, confers no authority upon the legislature to change, impair, add to or abridge them in any respect. In the language of the chief justice, in Page v. Allen, p. 58 Pa. St. 346: "These are the constitutional qualifications necessary to be an elector. They are defined, fixed and enumerated in that instrument. In those who possess them is vested a high, and, to a freeman, sacred right, of which they cannot be divested by any but the power which established them, viz., the people, in their direct legislative capacity. This will not be disputed. For the orderly exercise of the right resulting from these qualifications it is admitted that the legislature must prescribe necessary regulations as to the places, mode and manner, and whatever else may be required to insure its full and free exercise. But this duty and right inherently imply that such regulations are to be subordinate to the enjoyment of the right, the exercise of which is regulated. The right must not be impaired by the regulation. It must be regulation purely, not destruction. If this were not an immutable principle, elements essential to the right itself might be invaded, frittered away, or entirely exscinded [cut out], under the name or pretence of regulation, and thus would the natural order of things be subverted by making the principle subordinate to the accessory. To state is to prove this position. As a corollary of this, no constitutional qualification of an elector can in the least be abridged, added to, or altered, by legislation or the pretence of legislation. Any such action would be necessarily absolutely void and of no effect."

No registry law can be sustained which prescribes qualifications of an elector additional to those named in the constitution, and a registry law can be sustained only, if at all, as providing a reasonable mode or method by which the constitutional qualifications of an elector may be ascertained and determined, or as regulating reasonably the exercise of the constitutional right to vote at an election. If the mode or method, or regulations, prescribed by law for such purpose, and to such end, deprive a fully qualified elector of his right to vote at an election, without his fault and against his will, and require of him what is impracticable or impossible, and make his right to vote depend upon a condition which he unable to perform, they are as destructive of his constitutional right, and make the law itself as void, as if it directly and arbitrarily disenfranchised him without any pretended cause or reason, or required of an elector qualifications additional to those named in the constitution. It would be attempting to do indirectly what no one would claim could be done directly.

Mar 11, 2013

Wisconsin State Journal Hits GOP for Voter Obstruction Efforts

The editorial page editor of the Wisconsin State Journal came out with an editorial hitting the Wisconsin GOP initiatives in which "Republicans keep pushing for partisan advantage."

Firstly, good job, Scott Milfred.

Defending the Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1 ought not to be a partisan exercise as the news and editorial editors of the leading GOP dailies apparently believe.

Still, a few omissions from the State Journal's news and editorial coverage of GOP voter obstruction efforts deserve mention.

1. With respect to the voter GOP's photo identification card legislation, it's misleading to state the legislation is "tied up in the courts."

GOP-crafted photo ID is permanently enjoined from taking effect because it is unconstitutional, and has been found to be unconstitutional by two different judges. No one, who is objective, seriously disputes that the GOP's voter ID is unconstitutional under Wisconsin's expansive right to vote.

Ask any constitutional law professor, besides the GOP's Rick Essenberg.

Nowhere in the editorial is the word Constitution found.

2. Yes, the Republican Party is pushing for partisan advantage. But that's a sterile description for violating the constitutional rights of Wisconsin citizens. This attack on voting is an attack on fundamental rights, the very foundation of the state of Wisconsin. No need for the State Journal's Milfred to let the GOP off so easily. Nowhere in the editorial are the words civil rights found either.

3. Finally, the Republican Party has lied about its mission, objectives, and aims of the voter obstruction program. The editorial again lets off the Republican Party by omitting the fact the GOP's elected officials routinely lie to the Wisconsin people. When someone lies over and over, it follows that the person is a liar. Seems a compelling syllogism. Nowhere in the editorial are the words lie, mislead or misrepresent found either. Corrupt is also strangely omitted.

Nice job. But as the GOP attacks Wisconsin's foundation, and the moment is gravely serious because the four GOP justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court still could render an outrageous ruling upholding the photo ID-obstruction legislation [voted in by the GOP in a straight, party-line vote], I have to give the editorial an B-minus.

Dec 11, 2012

"Ending same-day voter registration would cost $5.2 million, board finds"

Update: Walker backs down, reverses stance.

" ... ending election-day registration would cost the state $5.2 million for the first two years - $1.9 million for increased costs to maintain voter lists, $1.2 million in computer system upgrades, $1.2 million for an ad campaign and voter outreach and more than $800,000 for training and adding staff." (Marley. MJS)

Scott Walker and the Republican Party must really care about election inspectors (poll workers) to save them the trouble of helping voters vote on election day.

Wonder if election inspectors, municipal clerks and every voting rights group telling the Republicans this is a terrible idea will change Walker and the Republicans' minds.

Nov 20, 2012

Scott Walker Says He Wants to End Same-Day Registration out of Concern for Poll Workers

Update: Scott Walker said he meant "job creation," not ending same-day voter registration. Poor misunderstood soul.

Scott Walker, it reported in the AP this morning, is floating the idea to ditch same-day voting registration in Wisconsin.

It is not reported that this is another Republican-Tea Party attack against citizens' voting.

Gee, which demographics of voters most often would need to register on election day?

Look, for the corporate press to continue to play dumb on the story.

From the AP:

Walker made the comments as part of a speech he gave Friday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Foundation in Simi Valley, Calif., in which he talked in general terms about his agenda for the upcoming legislative session. He did not say whether he would propose doing away with same-day registration, which has been targeted by Republicans in the past.

However, he was critical of the practice that has been cited as a factor in Wisconsin's traditionally high voter turnout. About 70 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots in the presidential election two weeks ago.

"States across the country that have same-day registration have real problems because the vast majority of their states have poll workers who are wonderful volunteers, who work 13-hour days and who in most cases are retirees," Walker said in the speech. "It's difficult for them to handle the volume of people who come at the last minute. It'd be much better if registration was done in advance of election day. It'd be easier for our clerks to handle that. All that needs to be done."

Oct 29, 2012

Romney-GOP Urge Concerned Republicans to Advise Voters on Proper Voting

From a Romney PowerPoint presentation -
Incorrectly reports Wisconsin law
Incorrectly reading the law, anti-democratic and harassing, the GOP is still advising "concerned citizen(s)" in methods to observe and speak up when non-GOP voters cast their votes at their polling places.

The Romney campaign and the Wisconsin GOP are incorrectly telling their observers that Wisconsin citizens need their licenses to vote, RootRiver Siren reports, among other mistakes the GOP is peddling about the right to vote in Wisconsin.

If you see anyone harassed at your polling place, tell an election official about the harassment immediately.

The GOP knows Wisconsin is likely an Obama state, but its decades-long lies about the need to suppress the vote continue.

Jun 14, 2012

95-Year-Old Bayfield Woman Can’t Get A Voter ID

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Last year, nearly a dozen new states passed voter ID laws. These laws may have prevented the nine cases of voter impersonation that occurred between 2000 and 2007, but the Brennan Center estimates they could collectively disenfranchise more than three million people this year. In other words, for each case of voter impersonation these laws prevent, nearly 350,000 citizens may lose their right to vote.

By Scott Keyes

ThinkProgress traveled to Wisconsin recently to investigate how the new law, if allowed to stand by the state judiciary, would affect voters in the state. (Two judges recently blocked the law, but their ruling will be appealed.)

One Wisconsinite we spoke with, 95-year-old Florence Hessing of Bayfield, said that she’d voted in every election without any problems until voter ID was enacted. However, her driver’s license expired when she stopped driving at the age of 90 (she’s now half-blind) and because she was likely born via midwife, she didn’t have a birth certificate required to get a new photo ID. Lawyers were eventually able to find an exemption for Hessing that will ultimately allow her to vote, but thousands of other Wisconsinites might not be as lucky. Indeed, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that approximately 300,000 lack photo ID.

Watch a short video about Hessing and other potential victims of new Wisconsin’s voter ID law:
You can read about other people denied their voting rights by new voter ID laws here.

Mar 9, 2012

Ruthelle Frank Reacts to Recent Voting Rights Developments

Ruthelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin fights for
her right to vote against Scott Walker
- Image from the Brad Blog
Ruthelle Frank missed voting for the first time in 60 years last month.

Ms. Frank was unable to legally vote in the February 21 Spring Primary election, disenfranchised from voting in her local school board election in Brokaw, Wisconsin.

Frank is a co-plaintiff who filed suit in federal court to block Scott Walker's voter ID law saying it unconstitutionally burdens the rights of senior citizens, minorities, homeless veterans and others from voting. [Frank v. Walker, 11cv1128, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)]

She is a 84-year-old woman living in Brokaw [and is a member of the Brokaw Village Board] and has been voting since 1948, but would have to pay up to $200 to get a Wisconsin GOP-approved ID.
Reached by phone Friday morning, Ms. Frank offered her thoughts on recent developments in the GOP voter obstruction fights.
"I have been living here 83 years; everybody knows me. We [Brokaw] have 194 people. I maybe could have voted last month illegally," Frank said. "I wasn't allowed to vote legally though, because I didn't have a valid Wisconsin ID. I didn't vote."
As civil rights activists today march from Selma to Montgomery in protest of Alabama's voter ID and anti-immigration laws, Ms. Frank keeps up the fight in Wisconsin.

"My motto is: You don't use what you have, you lose it. But I have never seen treatment like this, what is going on," said Frank. "I'm fighting for everyone who has lost his [voting] rights. This isn't right, it's just plain crazy. Just because we're old, and can't get around like we're young doesn't mean we're stupid and can't think and shouldn't be able to vote."

Asked about GOP criticism of Dane County Judge David Flanagan's temporary injunction barring implementation of the voter ID law while having signed a recall Walker petition, Frank said, "as far as I'm concerned, he has an opinion about Scott Walker and he [Flanagan] has to live his own life, you're not supposed to speak what you believe in?"

Frank whose story was broken by Robert Mentzer last year in the Wausau Daily Herald, sang the praises of old-time journalism, singling out Mentzer.

"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.

As the state and federal law suits against voter ID laws across the country continue, Frank said she is optimistic and ready for the fight.

"We're going to make it, we're are not going to crawl under a rock. I'm talked to people from California, Washington and even had a relative in Florida call me after seeing me on [Rachel Maddow]. Keep writing and thank you for spreading the story," Frank said.

Feb 23, 2012

The GOP Hates People with Whom They Disagree Casting Votes

Ruhelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin fights for her right
to vote in federal court against Scott Walker.
Because of the state’s new voter ID law,
2012 will be the first year Frank can’t vote.
Days after the first election under Wisconsin's new voter ID law Tuesday, a federal complaint need not make a facial (on its face) challenge to Wisconsin's voter obstruction, stop-nonexistent-voter-impersonation-nonsense statute. See the Brennan Center's: "future (federal) challenges to voter laws must be filed with respect to the application of a specific law—after its controversial mandates are already applied in an election."

But it won't mater.

The Wisconsin ID law is so blatantly unconstitutional that I think even the corrupt 4-3 majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court will have to enjoin the law as voting in Wisconsin is extremely well-protected under Wisconsin Constitutional law, and upholding the law would cause GOP justices to look even more foolish than they do now.

So, in both state and federal court, we are looking good.

I worked the polls Tuesday as an election inspector, and I had to reject an Army Reserve ID that did not include an expiration date.
- Before getting into revealing how foolish Republicans are on this issue, note that before you vote, you have to register to vote; see Wisconsin Voter Registration Application. To register to vote you need to establish who you are, and where you are (residency) with government and employee IDs, leases, utility bills, bank statements, etc; and if you have a driver’s license you need to register with your driver’s licence. In addition, you need to sign the voter reg. form stating that you are aware that falsification of any information is a Class 1 felony in Wisconsin. That’s before you can vote. … Then, you have to present a GOP-approved ID that 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. -
One women left Tuesday before she voted because she felt the registration process was too intrusive, and it is. She had been purged from the voting rolls through a clerical error and so had to re-register.

A election inspector colleague, a Republican, said he didn't believe college and tech students, the elderly and black voters in Milwaukee were denied the right to vote.

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

"No," he said. They must have IDs to receive "their Social Securty checks," he said triumphantly.

Tell that to 96-year-old Dorothy Cooper and 86-year-old Darwin Spinks (ThinkProgress).

Factually incorrect, but never use facts and logic in speaking to die-hard Republicans—it's not their thing. Should have ignored him.

Ruthelle Frank, 16 co-plaintiffs and the ACLU are filing suit in federal court to block the law saying it unconstitutionally burdens the rights of senior citizens, minorities, homeless veterans and others from voting. [See Frank v. Walker, 11cv1128, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)]

Finally, another federal lawsuit against Wisconsin's new voter identification law by the Advancement Project was filed Thursday on behalf of several groups who say it discriminates against African-Americans and Latinos. ... three other lawsuits are all pending. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP filed a lawsuit each in Dane County Circuit Court. The American Civil Liberties Union have also filed a federal lawsuit. AP
In closing, this question has not been anwsered: Why didn't Scott Walker get together in 2011 with the League of Women Voters, civil rights groups and other communites of interests and say: We're crafting a Voter ID bill, but we do not want legal voters to be stopped from voting. What can we do stop impersonation at the polls while ensuring the legal voter reflects the uncontroversial Wisconsin constituional doctrine:

"Every one having the constitutional qualifications then, may to go the polls, vested with this franchise, of which no statutory condition precedent can deprive him, because the [Wisconsin] constitution makes him, by force of his present qualifications, a qualified voter at such election."
- [Wis. Const, article III, section 1] Wood v. Baker, 38 Wis. 71: (August 1875)] Wisc. - Wisconsin Supreme Court

Dec 13, 2011

84-Year-Old Wisconsin Woman Takes on Scott Walker in Voting Rights Suit

Ruthelle Frank of Brokaw, Wisconsin fights for
her right to vote in federal court against Scott Walker

As State Sen. Jim Holperin (D-Eagle River) proposed legislation stating birth records should be free if needed for a voter I.D. in Wisconsin, an 84-Year-Old woman [and member of the Brokaw, Wisconsin Village Board], who has been voting since 1948, would have to pay up to $200 to vote in the next election under Scott Walker's voter obstruction law in Wisconsin.

Forget it, Scott Walker.

So, Ms. Frank, 16 co-plaintiffs and the ACLU are filing suit in federal court to block the law saying it unconstitutionally burdens the rights of senior citizens, minorities, homeless veterans and others from voting. [See Frank v. Walker, 11cv1128, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)]

Ms. Frank is asking the Court to find the Voter ID law unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and violative of the Twenty-Fourth Amendment outlawing payment of a poll tax as a precondition to vote.

By Joe Sherman at the ACLU

Out in the Cold at Age 84: Wisconsin’s Ruthelle Frank Fights for Her Right to Vote

Ruthelle Frank, a resident of Brokaw, Wisconsin since her birth in 1927, has none of the accepted forms of photo ID under Wisconsin’s photo ID law which goes into effect at the February primary election. In order to get a state ID card, she needs to prove citizenship, but since she was born at home, she has never had a birth certificate. The state Register of Deeds, however, does have a record of her birth and can produce a birth certificate at a $20 cost. There’s one problem though — her maiden name (Wedepohl) is misspelled in the record. That record can only be amended by legal proceeding, and the combined fees will run Ruthelle potentially upwards of $200. The state will not waive any of these fees, and under the new law, if she cannot obtain a state ID card, Ruthelle will be sent away from the polls.

If you lost all your IDs and personal documents in a fire today, could you prove who you are? What if there was an election coming up and your state required you to present photo ID in order to vote? Could you figure it out in time? Do you know where to go? What forms and documents you need? Do you have the time and money to get it all done?

In Wisconsin, it takes at least 3 types of proof to get a state ID card that can be used to vote. For most people, the combination of required documents is a certified copy of a birth certificate, a Social Security Card, and some proof of residency like a utility bill or government mail. But it takes ID to get ID. And, in some cases, it takes (A) ID and/or money to (B) get the ID required to (C) get the ID you actually need to vote. This obstacle course is leaving eligible voters discouraged and disenfranchised.

Some photo ID proponents have repeatedly argued that the only people who lack photo ID are those who don’t vote anyway. False. Ruthelle, a sitting member of her village board, has voted in every election since 1948, the year in which Truman signed the Marshall Plan and NYC subway fares jumped from 5 to 10 cents. She is a longstanding participant in this democracy. And sadly, her story is in no way unique — every day, eligible voters are finding out that, under current law, they will not be able to vote in 2012 or will face numerous and significant hurdles on the road to making their voice heard. At age 84, Ruthelle is now serving as the lead plaintiff in the ACLU’s constitutional challenge to Wisconsin’s photo ID law. She’s fighting back because she believes no person should have to pay a cent or pass a bureaucracy-navigation test in order to vote. The U.S. Constitution agrees with her.

Ruthelle’s disfranchisement is horrifically unjust, but she’s actually better prepared to deal with this than many voters without accepted photo ID, who are disproportionately low-income, elderly, and/or minority, and disproportionately marginalized. Despite Ruthelle’s physical disability (she is paralyzed on the left side of her body), she has family that can assist her, savings, education, and familiarity with both the electoral process and local government. Consider the eligible Wisconsin voter with few contacts, low or no income or savings, and much less education. Is that person any less a citizen of this country? That voter is at risk of losing his/her voice in Wisconsin and everywhere in the U.S. that photo ID laws have been enacted. But maybe you’d reply that most people have photo ID in America. Well, the Ruthelle Franks of the world want you to know that “most people” isn’t a democracy.

Read more on the fight against voter suppression.

Dec 5, 2011

Citizens Uncover Huge County-state Mistakes in Voter Obstruction Efforts

Wisconsin Catch 22 on Voter Obstruction

Update: Here's Richard Pinney's PR with contact info.

Folks may need a birth certificate to get a photo ID to vote, but they are told by the State and County bureaucracies they need a photo ID to get a birth certificate.

Citizens acting to ensure registered legal voters in Wisconsin are not denied their right to vote due to the Voter ID law have uncovered a big snafu with the potential to invalidate the entire law.

State law doesn't require a photo ID to get a birth certificate, but 2/3 of the counties are using forms that say a photo ID is required to get a birth certificate.

Richard Pinney built a website, Get Voter ID, to help people get a voter ID, but in the process found the snafu, a Catch 22 that Republicans love.

In fact, as Pinney notes:
In a systemic state-wide failure, the Election Division of the Government Accountability Board, the Department of Health Services, 48 counties and the Wisconsin Register of Deeds Association all post a link to a mail-in form that explicitly requires submitting a copy of the applicant's 'current valid photo ID'.
So, some folks may need a birth certificate to get a photo ID to vote, but they are told by the State and County bureaucracies they need a photo ID to get a birth certificate. What is this the U.S. Army?

View the complete Report here (PDF) with links to all sites-in-error mentioned above and examples of several versions of the mistaken photo ID requirements.

Oct 8, 2011

Wisconsin Poll Workers Falsely Told Voters: Expired Drivers' Licenses Mean No Voting

Long lines, confusion, errors mark dry run of Republican voter suppression law, just as Republicans intend

League of Women Voters issues new report.

MADISON: The League of Women Voters yesterday presented to state election officials a report on findings from a citizen election observer program. The initiative placed poll watchers in all eight of the state senate districts that had recall elections in August.

The League, in concert with other nonpartisan groups, recruited and trained more than 130 volunteers to observe the general recall elections conducted in August 2011. The League’s report summarized observations from 94 polling locations located in towns, villages and cities in the eight senate districts.

“The League was motivated by concerns about the implementation of Wisconsin’s new election law. There was insufficient time before this summer’s elections to train local election officials and voters themselves about the very significant changes in election law. Our observers were looking for problems related to the new law as well as best practices in administering elections in the new environment,” said Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network.

Most election law changes were in effect in August, including a new residency requirement of 28 days (up from 10 days) and a requirement to sign the poll book before receiving a ballot. There was also a “soft implementation” of the new voter ID law, requiring poll workers to ask citizens to show an official photo ID, but not requiring voters to show an ID in order to obtain a regular ballot. Voters who did not show an eligible ID were to receive information about what kind of ID will be required for voting beginning in 2012.

The vast majority of observers were impressed by the diligence, knowledge and professionalism of the Chief Inspectors and poll workers they observed. However, they found some problem areas that need to be addressed before the 2012 elections, including:

• In almost a quarter of polling sites, officials were inconsistent in asking voters to show ID. This is in violation of the law. It is critically important to treat all citizens equally.

• Some voters produced photo IDs such as fishing licenses and employer IDs but were not informed these documents would not be valid as voting IDs in 2012. With the new law, Wisconsin has the most restrictive list of acceptable photo IDs for voting in the nation. If you do not have a valid Wisconsin driver license or state ID, check with your municipal clerk or the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board for other options.

• In several polling places, voters were incorrectly told to re-register if the address on their photo ID did not match the address on the poll list. In fact, it is not necessary for registered voters to have their current address on the official photo ID they use to obtain a ballot for voting. However, in order to register to vote (if you are not already registered) you will have to show proof of current residence. There is a somewhat broader list of documents that may be used for voter registration.

• In at least 4 locations, people were incorrectly told they would not be able to vote in 2012 if their driver license was expired. Actually the new law allows for licenses that have expired after the date of the last general election (November 2010).

• In at least 6 locations in different municipalities, the names of people who claimed they had voted at that location in either November 2010 or July 2011 were not on the voter lists. This demonstrates the need for Election Day Registration, which allows citizens to register at the poll on Election Day if, for any reason, their name is not on the voter list.

• Observers in 17% of polling sites noted problems experienced by disabled voters with the new requirement to sign the poll book. There are provisions in the law exempting the disabled from this requirement.

• Showing ID and signing the poll book slowed down the process and resulted in long lines in most locations for at least part of the day. This was true even in places that had not had this problem in previous elections. People waited in line in some locations up to an hour, and some voters left before being able to cast a ballot. To reduce or cope with long lines, some local officials drafted city workers to be additional poll workers or recruited observers to greet voters and direct them to the right line.

“It is clear that many municipal clerks will need to hire more poll workers for future elections because of the new requirements. This is an unfortunate and unneeded expense for local governments at a time when municipal services are being cut to save tax dollars,” Kaminski said.

The League made the following recommendations for election officials to prepare for the high turnout elections in 2012:

1. Provide more and better training for local election officials about the changes in election law.

2. Provide clear signage in polling places, showing citizens where to register to vote and where to check in and receive a ballot.

3. Split the poll books – one the first half of the alphabet and one for the second.

4. Hire more poll workers and assign one official to greet voters, answer general questions and direct them to the correct line.

5. Plan for glitches. Hold an election “dry run” to help anticipate what the problems might be and prepare to address them.

Read a copy of the League’s election observers report.

Sep 27, 2011

Wisconsin Republicans afraid of students' voting

After passing their voter suppression bill aimed at suppressing the vote of non-GOP constituencies, the GOP is not happy with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB).

Republicans want a special legislative committee overseeing state agency rules to examine the Board’s rules because suppressing votes is the aim of the GOP. The GAB is acting in contravention to that suppression goal in issuing a new opinion this month favorable to students' voting.

Colleges and universities encouraging students to vote? Not if the Republicans can help it.

From WISC:

Two opinions issued this month by the state board that oversees elections in Wisconsin is drawing the scrutiny of Republican legislative leaders.

They called a meeting Tuesday of a special committee to review the action of the Government Accountability Board.

The board issued an opinion that said colleges and universities could put stickers on identification cards and still be in compliance with requirements for the IDs to be used for voting.

It also issued an opinion saying it's OK for a form used to gather signatures to recall an office holder to be circulated online.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and his brother Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald say they want to ensure that the board's actions were appropriate and nonpartisan.

Sep 24, 2011

A Voter ID Reality Overlooked

No, you don't
Update: So strong is the franchise to vote in Wisconsin that attorney Lester Pines noted in orals before the Wisconsin Supreme Court that even mandating registration of voters had to be accomplished through a state Constitutional amendment first enacted in 1882. League of Wisconsin Women Voters v. Scott Walker.

As challenges to Wisconsin's voter suppression law [polling place ID] proceed, one startling aspect of the debate is not from the GOP spin machine, rather the lack of examination on how the law would operate in our system that most certainly does preserve the integrity of elections in scrutinizing voters.

Register to vote

This is because before you vote, you have to register to vote; see  Wisconsin Voter Registration Application.

To register to vote you need to establish who you are, and where you are (residency) with government and employee IDs, leases, utility bills, bank statements, etc; and if you have a driver's license you need to register with your driver's licence.

In addition, you need to sign the voter reg. form stating that you are aware that falsification of any information is a Class 1 felony in Wisconsin.

That's before you can vote.

Photo ID

Now, in addition to these residency and registration requirements, the GOP voter-id-at-polling-place law then adds a layer of obstruction for voters, mandating only GOP-proscribed photo IDs must also be presented when voting. [see bottom]

Not a problem for most of us.

But those not fitting the GOP proper-voter bill such as disaffected veterans, low-income, mobile students, and the homeless, and significantly many black folks in Milwaukee County, would be refused at the polls; their franchise is not enough.

Rick Esenberg, the GOP's go-to guy on voter suppression, even says as much about the current registration requirements [which many registrants find invasive] telling "the Journal Sentinel he believes the courts would consider the ID law an extension of residency and registration requirements." [Crockett]

An "extension" that has been carefully worded when the GOP rejected input from the League of Women Voters and civil rights groups in hatching its voter scheme passed with no Democratic support.

The GOP objectives are modest: Suppress the total vote; make the voting experience insulting to the casual voter. This way, real Americans, white, single home-owning Americans, can cast their ballot and have their votes counted.

You can't get around the Twenty-fourth Amendment outlawing poll taxes, but you can keep this fact of no polling taxes very quiet, as Chis Larson, Wisconsin state employee fired for blowing the whistle on the Voter ID Poll Tax, will tell you.

As John Nichols writes, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation head directs DMV employees "to refrain from actively informing the public about the ability to receive a free identification card for the purposes of voting."

Going to the polls, Wisconsin "[c]itizens face a higher burden. They must either pay for their ID or they must work their way through a bureaucratic maze expressly designed to deny them information about the fact that they have a right to a free ID."

This is a classic poll tax structure. While the law on the books may suggest flexibility, the implementation of the law has been designed to erect barriers to voting by those who cannot afford the fee."

Ernest Canning writes, "The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, ... as 'the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era.'"
Wisconsin Government Accountability Board - Acceptable 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

Aug 23, 2011

Challenge to GOP Voter Suppression in Wisconsin

"The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Fund is preparing to challenge Wisconsin's new Voter ID law based on the state constitution. As a nonpartisan organization that encourages participation in government, the League is concerned about the many eligible citizens who will be disenfranchised by the new law. The League is working with Attorney Lester Pines of Cullen, Weston, Pines, and Bach to challenge the legislature's authority to enact the law."
- Press Announcement, August 23, 2011

See also:

Jul 26, 2011

Mordecai Lee—A descent into hollow reasoning

Mordecai Lee, Prof of Gov Affairs
'That 's sort of what this fight in Wisconsin is all about.'

The Rachel Maddow Show featured a superb guest host in Melissa Harris-Perry Tuesday night. 

Unfortunately, no one warned the host or her producers about Mordecai Lee, professor of Government Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Lee was a guest on a segment about Scott Walker's voter suppression-voter ID-close-the-DMV-offices. [Walker has now reversed himself on DMV closures, after facing political backlash for disenfranchising Voters]

Lee is notorious for, and let's be honest, acting like he is a dolt.

He's not. But Lee's commitment to veering into nihilism should the rational method indict the Republican Party is infamous.

A la the Washington Post editorial page, Lee pretends to believe that facts, logic and data show that all political parties are the same; and holding any one party accountable for its lies is missing the insight Lee has on the American political process.

Enlightening the viewers of the Rachel Maddow Show, Lee offers that in Wisconsin, 'Partisan politics is a contact sport.'


An indignant Melissa Harris-Perry asked Lee about Scott Walker's closing down DMV offices right after signing the Voter ID law in an effort to make voting more difficult.

Lee said of Walker's DMV scheme: That's a "smooth move."

Asked if Republicans stand a chance in Wisconsin unless they make these draconian Voter ID laws, Lee responds with blather.

So, Harris-Perry presses him, asking Lee for comment on the lower-d, democratic value of obstructing rather than facilitating voters.

Here was Lee's great chance to tell the world that both major political parties are equally guilty of betraying democracy, national and Wisconsin Republican voter suppression programs aside.

Lee did not disappoint.

Said Lee: Since the civil rights movement era, "Every argument about enfranchisement or disenfranchisement has really been about partisan advantage. I don't necessarily think the Democrats have just, purely clean hands. Every party wants to gain an advantage. Democrats want lower-income and younger people to be able to vote. That 's sort of what this fight in Wisconsin is all about."

Got that? Republicans are engaged in a massive voter disenfranchisement scheme; but Democrats do not have "clean hands" because they want to enfranchise voters. Both parties are mere analogues of each other in the strange logic employed by Mordecai Lee.

Wisconsin Voter Suppression in Action

Here is a video of a mother trying to get her son a voter ID card in Wisconsin.

For anyone who hasn't seen this, please consider watching this DMV bureaucrat at work:

Apparently, "bank activity" is a requirement, and these DMV workers even write down how much money the young man has in his account.

Starting this fall, all Wisconsin IDs and driver's licenses will be made in California and take up to two weeks to receive in the mail. You used to walk out of the DMV with your license until Scott Walker became governor.

On top of that, he wants to close as many as 16 DMV offices. Funny how they're mostly in Democratic voting districts.

Jul 19, 2011

U.S. DoJ Challenge to Wisconsin Voter Suppression Law Possible

Voting Right Act - 1965
Will the U.S. Justice Department stop the assault on voting rights for minorities, the elderly, the rural and the poor?

Update: Sen. Dave Hansen; Confusion, Voter Suppression Law Obstruct Green Bay Voters.

The fact is right now: Before you can vote in Wisconsin you need to present a proof of residency and fill out a multi-question application to register to vote.

You need to attest you are who you say you are, are not a felon on probation or parole, are a U.S. citizen, among other questions answered under  penalty of federal law.

So, this being the case, how is the massive, GOP-claimed voter fraud occurring?

It's not, and the Voter ID law [set to take effect in Wiscosnin next Spring] is just a way to make it more difficult to vote with the objective of suppressing the votes of Democratically leaning voters.

It's possible U.S. Attorney General Holder will actually do something about the voter suppression as a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [renewed on July 27, 2006 for 25 years as signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush, with the powerful support from House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.].

On June 29, 2011 Sen. Herb Kohl along with 18 other U.S. senators signed a letter to AG Holder expressing concerns about highly restrictive photo identification requirements under consideration or already signed into law in several states, including Wisconsin.

Sen. Ron Johnson did not sign the letter. No Republican senators signed the letter.

The Honorable Eric Holder

Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We are writing to express our concerns about highly restrictive photo identification requirements under consideration or already signed into law in several states. These measures have the potential to block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights. Studies have shown that as high as 11% of eligible voters nationwide do not have a government-issued ID. This percentage is higher for seniors, racial minorities, low-income voters and students. Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we urge you to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department to review laws before they are implemented in covered jurisdictions. As you know, the burden of proof in this preclearance process is on those covered jurisdictions, which must be able to show that legal changes will not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. New photo identification laws, for instance, must be subjected to the highest scrutiny as states justify these new barriers to participation. In Section 5 jurisdictions, whenever photo identification legislation is considered, the Department should closely monitor the legislative process to track any unlawful intent evinced by the proceedings.

Restrictive photo identification requirements are also being considered or have passed in states and jurisdictions that are not covered by Section 5. The Department should exercise vigilance in overseeing whether these laws are implemented in a way that discriminates against protected classes in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, federal civil rights law - 42 U.S.C. 1971(a)(2)- prohibits different standards, practices or procedures from being applied to individuals within a jurisdiction. We believe the Department should ensure that these photo identification laws do not violate this statute or other federal voting rights statutes.

Highly restrictive photo identification requirements at the polls can make it more difficult for well-intentioned voters to cast their ballots, and as far as America's civil rights trajectory is concerned, that sort of effect takes America in the wrong direction. We urge you to exercise your authority to examine these laws so that voting rights are not jeopardized. We also request that you brief us on the efforts the Department is undertaking to ensure these new laws are implemented in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Thank you for your work protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

Michael F. Bennet, United States Senator
Harry Reid, United States Senator
Dick Durbin, United States Senator
Charles E. Schumer, United States Senator
Patty Murray, United States Senator
Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator
Mary Landrieu, United States Senator
Benjamin L. Cardin, United States Senator
Sherrod Brown, United States Senator
Mark Begich, United States Senator
Jeff Merkley, United States Senator
Kirsten E. Gillibrand, United States Senator
Ron Wyden, United States Senator
Tom Harkin, United States Senator
Tom Udall, United States Senator
Herb Kohl, United States Senator

Jul 10, 2011

No Voter IDs Required for Recall Elections

The above headline is a fact.

Voters do not need a new Voter ID "until the Presidential Preference Primary in the Spring of 2012," as the Wisconsin Governmental Accountability Board clearly states.

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin State Journal editors appear committed to confusing the issue in its hard-copy edition of the Sunday paper.

It's top-of-the-fold Sunday piece includes a teaser with a sub-headline Voter ID Law, "find out what you'll need to bring to the polls."

Inside the State Journal on p. 11, the below-the-fold lede in the referenced piece reads: "Voters in Tuesday's primary election and next month's state Senate recalls won't have to show a picture ID."

Running this fact on page one as a method of informing readers is not so hard. One would think hyping this fact on would be instructive.

Timing of Challenges

As the right to vote in Wisconsin is well-protected in the Wisconsin Constitution and state statute, ...

[See] ... The Wisconsin Constitution vests and warrants the right [to vote] at the time of election. Every one having the constitutional qualifications then, may to go the polls, vested with this franchise, of which no statutory condition precedent can deprive him, because the [Wisconsin] constitution makes him, by force of his present qualifications, a qualified voter at such election" [Wis. Const, art III, section 1] Wood v. Baker, 38 Wis. 71: (August 1875)] Wisc. - Wisconsin Supreme Court
... it's likely that a challenge in state Court is forthcoming.

But timing is critical to achieve the objective of halting the GOP-desired disenfranchising of Democratically leaning voters.

So, a Wisconsin court judicial injunction against the voter suppression bill that would, one fears, be overturned by a corrupt Wisconsin Supreme Court has to be timed so that the ultimate result is adjudicated during or shortly before the presidential general November 2012 election.

Federal Challenges

As noted here in February:

A federal court challenge seems unlikely as one effect of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (No 07-21) (2008) upholding an Indiana voter ID law is that "future challenges to voter laws must 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.]
On the other hand, a federal challenge could be filed after the Presidential Preference Primary in the Spring of 2012, with the result being that the suppression act is enjoined before the November general election.

But the voter suppression bill is crafted to meet the federal test of the burden imposed on eligible voters vis a vis the "integrity and reliability of the electoral process itself." [Harper’s standard. Anderson v. Celebrezze, 460 U. S. 780 , n. 9.]

The fact is that the GOP program to suppress and obstruct voters is not deemed relevant to corporate media coverage.

One would think that the integrity and reliability of the process facilitates and does not obstruct legal voting. That is an incorrect assessment.

Barry Sarlin (TPM) notes:
Former President Bill Clinton weighed in on Republican efforts in several states to pass new restrictions on voting, comparing the measures to the Jim Crow laws of the past.

'There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,' Clinton said in a speech at a Campus Progress conference in Washington.
No such remarks from President Obama yet who apparently feels that fighting for the right to vote is a politically losing proposition, just not worth the trouble.


Of course, it is possible that the tortured reasoning that would lead the Wisconsin Supreme Court to uphold the voter suppression bill is too much even for the state Republican justices.

Let's hope a judge hearing the state challenge notes, as did Judge Sumi in 2008 on the concerted GOP voter suppression effort, the Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers (2004) [No.02-0542] case:

[T]he Supreme Court four years ago pretty cogently summarized what the law is. The court ... concluded in Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers in 2004, this is Justice Crooks speaking for a unanimous court: It is evident, the court said, noting Wisconsin's proud history of protecting the right to vote, 'It is evident that this court has constantly placed a premium on giving effect to the will of the voter.' And not just the will of the voter with respect to whether there's a checkmark in the right place, whether, if we were in Florida, hanging chads, or any other formal problem, but the will of the voter in terms of the ability to go to the polls, vested with the franchise [to vote].
Fighting for "the will of the voter in terms of the ability to go to the polls, vested with the franchise," sounds like the American thing to do, certainly the Wisconsin thing to do.

Justice Crooks in Roth v. LaFarge School District Board of Canvassers (2004) [No.02-0542] writes:

¶ 44 Wisconsin's general principle of inclusion supports the conclusion of counting the vote in this case. As the majority correctly recognizes, this principle is supported by our precedent, 'Wisconsin courts have consistently noted that they do not want to deprive voters of the chance to have their votes counted.' Majority op., ¶¶ 19-25 (citing e.g., State ex. rel. Wood v. Baker, 38 Wis. 71 (1875), Ollmann v. Kowalewski, 238 Wis. 574, 300 N.W. 183 (1941), Hackbarth v. Erickson, 147 Wis.2d 467, 433 N.W.2d 266 (Ct.App.1988)).
Faced with an array of anti-democratic forces in the press and GOP, whether President Obama is worth the trouble of casting a vote for is a different, wide-open question; Obama cannot be depended on to act as if our vote counts.