Apr 6, 2016

Veteran Wisconsin Election Inspector Resigns, Cites Voter ID

Al Potts of Fitchburg,Wisconsin - Resigned chief
election inspector position because of Wisconsin's voter
photo ID law that obstructs voters from voting.
Photo Credit: Potts family
Updated - A veteran election inspector, Al Potts of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, said partisan-inspired changes to Wisconsin election law in the last five years caused him to call it quits before the presidential primary.

“I won’t help perpetuate a fraud on voters," said Potts.

The Fitchburg Star has the story.

Potts has it right.

Tierney Sneed of Talking Points Memo reports today:

A former top staffer for a Republican legislator in Wisconsin suggested this week that GOP legislators were motivated to pass the state’s tough photo voter ID law because they believed it would help them at the ballot box, an account he expanded on in a Wednesday interview with TPM.

Todd Allbaugh, who served as chief of staff for state Sen. Dale Schultz (R) until the legislator retired in 2015, first made the claims in a Tuesday Facebook post that caught the attention of national voting rights experts.

In the post, Allbaugh recalled a 2011 caucus meeting of GOP state senators about the voter ID legislation. Allbaugh said during that meeting, some Republicans were 'giddy' over the legislation's "ramifications" and the effect it would have on minority and young voters.

Once he left politics, Allbaugh opened a Madison, Wisconsin coffee shop, where TPM reached him over the phone and he elaborated on those claims.

'It just really incensed me that they started talking about this particular bill, and one of the senators got up and said, "We really need to think about the ramifications on certain neighborhoods in Milwaukee and on our college campuses and what this could do for us,'" Allbaugh said. 'The phrase ‘voter suppression’ was never used, but it was certainly clear what was meant.'

While Schultz, Allbaugh’s former boss, has notably spoken outagainst more recent restrictions on voting, he voted for the 2011 bill. According to Allbaugh, at this point in the point of meeting, Schultz brought up his own concerns with the voter ID legislation.

'He was immediately shot down by another senator who said, ‘What I am interested in is getting results here and using the power while we have it, because if the Democrats were in control they would do they same thing to us, so I want to use it while we have it,'” Allbaugh said.

Allbaugh said Schultz left the meeting in frustration after that, while he stayed behind to continue taking notes.

'It left a pit in my stomach to think that a party that I had worked for for years and years and years was literally talking and plotting to deny someone, a fellow citizen, their constitutional right,' Allbaugh said.

Allbaugh told TPM he was stirred to write the initial Facebook post after one of his young employees, who had moved from California to Wisconsin, was unable to vote Tuesday. Albaugh said that because the employee's California ID did not meet the state’s requirements to vote, he was told he needed to show his California birth certificate, which the employee was not going to be able to produce in time.

'When you see the real world ramification, it just sickens you,' Allbaugh said. 'I have to tell people what’s going on.'

Schultz was asked about Allbaugh’s Facebook post on Wednesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Meanwhile the Republican Wisconsin DoJ is busily defending the voter photo ID law in U.S. appellate court in Frank v. Walker, (Wisconsin DoJ).

Reads a Wisconsin DoJ press release in part dated this morning:

The Wisconsin Department of Justice will argue today in front of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case of Frank v. Walker to uphold Wisconsin’s Voter ID law. ...

[T]he Seventh Circuit will decide if Wisconsin’s Voter ID law holds up against the plaintiffs’ new, narrower challenge.  The plaintiffs claim that this narrower challenge is not new because they had asserted these claims in their arguments in the original Frank v. Walker.  The Attorney General argues that this is not true and that the plaintiffs’ narrower challenge consists of new claims which the plaintiffs are not allowed to raise after the Seventh Circuit’s final decision in 2014. Even if plaintiffs are allowed to raise these claims, Wisconsin’s law is still constitutional under Crawford and the original Frank v. Walker decision.

Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin will make these arguments to a panel of three judges from the Seventh Circuit.

Stopping Wisconsin voters from voting is a project Wisconsin Republicans will see to its completion, if not acceptance from the Wisconsin people.

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