Apr 22, 2014

Photo Voter ID for the Wisconsin November Election—A Voter System Usability Test

Updated - February 21, 2012 is the only day in Wisconsin history when a new statutory condition—a new qualification—had to be satisfied to cast a vote without an amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution.

This statutory condition, a new qualification, is likely one of the grounds on which the Wisconsin Supreme Court will strike down Wisconsin's photo voter ID law, Act 23, as unconstitutional.

Scott Walker knew he and the Republican Party legislators enacted an unconstitutional law that stopped qualified, registered Wisconsin voters from voting.

Scott Walker knows in a heavy voter turn-out election, Act 23 (had it not been enjoined by state courts, and likely a federal judge as well) would obstruct and suppress potentially 100,000s of voters.

This knowledge does not weigh on Walker because stopping Wisconsin voters from voting is precisely the point of Act 23, and the GOP's other voter obstruction laws passed since they took control of the legislature and executive branch.

Put aside. for the moment, the facts demonstrated in federal and state court that blacks, Latinos, the elderly, homeless, homeless veterans, and college students for example would face barriers and burdens imposed by the Republican Party's Act 23.

The February 21, 2012 Spring Primary Election Day—when no statewide races were on the ballots and turn-out was in the single digits—provided a usability test for photo voter ID.

I worked as an election inspector on the voter rolls books on February 21, 2012, at Fire Station #2 (Fitchburg, Wisconsin (Wards 1-4; District one)).

I can tell you that the time imposed on the system, assuming Act 23 or a new photo voter ID act is in effect, would on the November 2014 General Election Day cause huge lines, massive delays, and sow confusion at the polling place: All GOP objectives.

Assume a photo voter ID law is in place in November 2014, as Walker says he'll attempt to enact after the expected judicial knockdown of Act 23, in this heavy turn-out election the waiting times would become unbearable to many.

In this scenario, Wisconsin GAB regulations [which would be slightly revised for a new law] would require each voter at the polls to state his name and address, sign his or her name on the voting rolls, and present a GOP-approved photo voter ID to poll worker (election inspector).

The poll worker in turn would examine the ID against the restrictive list of acceptable IDs; check the name on the ID against the voting roll; examine the photo for resemblance to the voter; and then physically hand the ID to the second poll worker who repeats the process.

The variables of the extra time for the single voter may not seem like much, but this variable (the time increases) are multiplied the longer the line and the higher the turn-out on Election Day.

Throw in time increase factors built into the Wisconsin voting system by Republicans since 2011 such as eliminating weekend early voting, multiple shortening of early-voting periods, new residency rules, elimination of third-person attesting to residency, and so on and the result is less Wisconsin people will have voted.

This is the Republican objective.

In June 2012, many polling places experienced near-presidential level turn-out on the Recall General Election day. Had the photo voter ID rules been in effect, the long lines, and over-an-hour waits for voters registering at the polls on Election Day that already existed that day would have been catastrophically increased, assuming the objective of constitutionally qualified voters casting their preference on Election Day.

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