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Feb 17, 201603:13 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

What if voters were asked to prove their identity — and they did?

(page 1 of 2)

What if they held a spring primary election Tuesday? What if voters were asked for official identification to prove they were who they said they were? What if the sky didn’t fall?

Brother wizard Charlie Sykes asks: “Can we finally put the Voter ID myths to bed? Tuesday night’s statewide Supreme Court turnout surged 55% over 2013 — a race that did not feature a Voter ID requirement.”

Struggling young writer Christian Schneider observes: “Turnout nearly doubled in the City of Milwaukee, where 60% of Wisconsin’s African-American residents live.”

In Dane County, 72,625 voted Tuesday in a race that featured no mayoral races, no county exec, and few contested county board seats. That’s roughly double any of the spring primaries in previous years: 29,655 in the 2015 spring primary, 2,797 (yes!) in the 2014 primary, 39,256 in 2013, and 38,323 in 2012.

Somehow, Wisconsin survived the race baiting, the vast ALEC and Koch Bros. conspiracy theories, and unremitting lawsuits to ensure the sanctity of the ballot box. In the interests of accountability, let’s round up the usual suspects:

• “The entire voter ID crusade, spearheaded by the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, has had everything to do with suppressing votes among likely Democratic constituencies.” — “Voter ID worst of shameful GOP deeds” — Dave Zweifel in The Corporation that Speaks in the Progressive Voice, Feb. 5, 2016.

• “The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin said the state’s new process for issuing photo IDs for voters is designed to “cause confusion and discourage people from voting.” — Sept. 11, 2014.

• “With Scott Walker leading the charge, Wisconsin Republicans have systematically sought to make voting more difficult and manipulate state law to give themselves a partisan political advantage. These measures include implementing one of the harshest voter ID laws in the nation.” — One Scot Ross’ dark money attack group, May 12, 2013

• “Wisconsin’s voter ID law has nothing to do with stopping the fictitious threat of voter fraud and everything to do with making it harder for more eligible voters to register and vote.” — U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, Feb. 10, 2015.

Yeah, it’s a really ugly thing, Juan. … the Governor has signed, the most draconian voter ID law in the country — makes it much harder to vote. … with the purpose of discouraging low-income folks, elderly folks, others who don’t — aren’t as likely to have an ID, from going to the polls. It’s a bad law.” — John Nichols on Democracy Now, May 27, 2011.


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Comments, page 1 of 2 1 2 Next »
Feb 18, 2016 09:22 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Details details, details. I take the long view when judging this administration. 1. Increased regulation making it harder to vote. 2. Installed a high school graduate former strip mall developer to head our DNR. Ensuing deregulation makes it easier to pollute and draw down our water tables. 3. Attempt to pass surprise open records restrictions and water privatization bills no one asked for and no one supports. All well opening up the spigot to dark money flowing into the campaign coffers. I would hope this would be all any voter needs to know when judging the WI GOP priorities and who they answer to

Feb 18, 2016 10:18 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Do not forget he decided to call it a Christmas Tree over Holiday Tree. That is bridge too far.

Feb 18, 2016 03:09 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Nice nonmention of how a UW student who lives here 9 months of the year and somewhere else (MN, for example) 2 months and still has a MN DL (for whatever reason) couldn't vote. Yes, it happened.

Feb 18, 2016 03:18 pm
 Posted by  mark

Ditto to Anon:2/18, 9:22 am!! And let's add the elimination of voter registration drive deputies. When coupled with the voter ID drive, the lack of evidence of discernable problems, the political motivation of this administration and representatives becomes clear.

Feb 18, 2016 04:13 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

And how many disenfranchised did not vote because they were unable to get their ID? Perhaps you should share that stat before you blindly trumpet a stat that is meaningless in gauging the law's impact on voter turnout. Who's to say the turnout would not have been 75% greater had voter ID not been a requirement?

Feb 18, 2016 05:31 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Nice try Anon 3:09 PM. All you need to vote as a student in Wisconsin is a Student Photo ID (which UW issues to all students), and proof of enrollment and you are allowed to vote. If you didn't have those, then you are not a student and have no right to vote in Wisconsin.

Feb 18, 2016 06:58 pm
 Posted by  AnonyBob

High turnout despite, or in spite of, voter ID? Lotsa lies, damned lies and incomplete statistics here (although we do agree, young Schneider struggles as a writer). Voter fraud was nonexistent before, yet you guys had to make it tougher and less convenient to vote because you fear high turnout voters; especially the young, the old, and the differently hued. (Yes Explat, that IS racism.)
And what was the point of constricting early voting, other than to constrict large (Dem turnout) urban areas? Wha-wha, the 37 residents of Podunk township didn't have as many hours to vote early as the residents of Milwaukee or Madison had, where the city clerks tried to accommodate many thousands of early voters. More lies and election rigging from the GOP. How democratic of you.
I now live in one of the reddest of the red states, yet I have a 2 week span (including weekends!) where I can vote early at any one of 2 dozen sites, including my local grocery store, around this city the size of Madison. I no longer have to scoot over to the city clerk's office at an odd time to avoid lines, during work hours, to vote early. Of course, Dems only poll at 20% here, so the GOP has no reason to constrict voting. (Why I live here and Blaska doesn't is a good question.)

Feb 19, 2016 02:38 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Open Letter from a Madison poll worker to the UW student who tried to vote yesterday

I’m so sorry. I know you’re a registered voter—your name and address are in our poll book. When you showed me the picture on your Minnesota drivers license, I could see it was you. You weren’t trying to impersonate another voter, but I couldn’t let you vote without an approved ID.

Yes, Wisconsin’s Photo ID Law is new and confusing. No, it makes no sense that others in line could show an approved ID like a passport (with no address) or a Wisconsin driver’s license (with an old address).

I want you to know that I’m thrilled when students vote. I’m doing my very best to encourage you, but there’s no denying that recently Wisconsin legislators have made it harder for students to vote.

Here’s what you can do. Get involved in the democratic process. First, make sure your friends are registered at their current address and know how, when, and where to vote in the important elections ahead. Your Wiscard is not valid for voting; UW students must pick up a voter ID card and bring proof of enrollment to the polls. Second, let’s work together to make sure voting becomes easier, not harder, for all Americans.

- Carrie Scherpelz, poll worker at the Capitol Lakes Retirement Community Madison Polling Place since 2012

Feb 19, 2016 03:19 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Glad to know Annoying Bob is an expert on voter fraud. I should not be surprised as he's declared himself an expert on everything else, including racism, democracy, history and climate change. But here's a suggestion: Declaring everything everyone else says is a lie or racist gets kind of old and tired after a while. I suggest changing it up, otherwise you end up appearing kind of old, stale, stupid as well as annoying.

Feb 19, 2016 03:23 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous


Thanks for your thoughtful message. And for your public service.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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