As Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Vote Suppression, GOP Finds a New Way to Suppress the Vote


Even with changing the rules on voter ID which the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld with a bit of tweaking, vote suppressors need more ways to intimidate voters.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court upheld the state’s voter ID law in two separate challenges, by votes of 4-3 in a case brought by the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and 5-2 in a case brought by The League of Women Voters Wisconsin Education Network.

Curiously, the court had to write a “saving construction” to make the law constitutional. The issue was the fact that it costs $20 to get an in state birth certificate in order to get an acceptable Voter ID, even if the ID itself is available free of charge.  The Court’s majority acknowledged that was a problem in the challenge by the Milwaukee Branch for the NAACP.

The modest fees for documents necessary to prove identity would be a severe burden on the constitutional right to vote not because they would be difficult for some to pay. Rather, they would be a severe burden because the State of Wisconsin may not enact a law that requires any elector, rich or poor, to pay a fee of any amount to a government agency as a precondition to the elector’s exercising his or her constitutional right to vote.

Patrick Marley, Bruce Vielmetti and Jason Stein of the WJS  explain how the court fixed the problem with a little saving construction.

To keep the law intact, the majority employed a saving construction of the state’s administrative code to require the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue photo ID without requiring a birth certificate or other documents that require fees.

While Republicans celebrate this ruling, it like many of their celebrations may be premature. In April, a Federal Court ruled that Wisconsin’s Voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution.  That ruling is being reviewed.  If it’s upheld, these rulings become moot.

It is interesting that not so long ago, the right wing sought voter ID, initially to address statistically non-existent voter fraud.  Later it was about re-establishing confidence in the election system.  According to the right wing, new Voter ID laws were the answer to both of these statistically non-existent problems.

Then of course, Republicans needed partisan voter vigilante groups like True the Vote and The Voter Integrity Project, to interrogate and intimidate voters oh, and scrutinize poll workers.

Even those measures are not enough for the vote suppression crowd. It could be telling that even they recognize their voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution.  That may explain why want to enable voter vigilante groups take photos and engage in video surveillance of voters and poll workers.

Chris Rickert of WSJ, reports Senator Mary Lazich and Rep. Kathy Bernier requested these creepy privileges at a Government Accountability Board meeting last week.  The board rejected the request by a vote of 4-2 – at least for now.

As Rickert points out, this is about further intimidating low-income voters who are more likely to vote Democratic.  Someone who looks official shoving a camera in their faces, after braving the voter ID process and long lines may be the last straw.  At least, that’s what Republican extremists are hoping for.

As insulting as this latest attempt at intimidation is for voters, it also suggests that poll workers are too inept, too corrupt or the extensive the rules in place are insufficient. Of course, when one is paranoid, nothing is good enough to reassure them.

With a wage ranging from $8-$10/hr., poll workers in Wisconsin are not in it for the money.  Aside from the low pay, they must undergo biennial training – possibly without pay.  Moreover, if they violate the laws they must swear an oath to uphold, they can face a fine of $1,000, six months in prison or both.

Even if the low pay and the penalties for violating the law aren’t enough of a protection, existing law makes it impossible for poll workers to tamper with the election.

No doubt, Republicans indulge in paranoid fantasies about voter fraud, and now, poll workers rigging the system against them because that is so much easier than admitting that their ideology is too extreme and too un-American for most voters.

Image: San Diego Free Press

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31 Replies to “As Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Vote Suppression, GOP Finds a New Way to Suppress the Vote”

  1. Imagine if dems did what repugs did. It’d take all of 2 seconds before we’d hear screeches of “unpatriotic” “treason” etc. As stated on Rachel Maddow’s show every so often, IOKIUAR. It’s OK If You Are Republican. God I wish our media would do it’s damn job.

  2. Republicans are paranoid about voter fraud because they are the biggest fraudsters out there. In my experience, when you do hear of the rare instance of voter fraud, it is a Republican who is doing it.

    Of course, the main thrust of their efforts is to discourage Democratic voters.

    You would think that is your policies are so bad that you have to cheat to win, it would cause some soul-searching, of course you would have to have a soul to search.

  3. Are you playing the innocent card? There is nothing wrong with voter ID in and of itself.
    However at the same time taking ID’s away that have been used before such as college ID’s, and then saying they will take gun permits as credible ID doesnt cut it. They rule out people with no birth certificates or drivers licenses who have voted all their lives. They close polls in minority and college areas. They shut down early voting, voting on Sundays where Sundays have been vote days for most of peoples lives.

    If each state gave out an ID and used drivers licenses as well voter ID would be just fine.

    Dont play stupid here, we know you for what you are

  4. Many African-Americans don’t have access to state identification. Asking an African-American for identification is a hate-crime that shakes my sensibilities to the core.

  5. I have to admit the thought of a poll worker standing 3 ft from me is something I dread and it’s definitely intimidating. My polling place is a small church in WI and it’s bad enough, other than the 2-3 poll ladies there are usually 3-4 men hanging around. It’s never very busy so you can bet one will be hanging out within 3 ft of me. Of course I will never stop voting but sometimes I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.

  6. Sorry to be disagreeable but I am fully for voter ID. It is total BS that it’s difficult to obtain. I want everyone to vote but I think they need to prove they have earned that right. It is, after all, a privilege, not an entitlement.

  7. So if you have a college ID that’s null and void but if you have a NRA card that’s all right? Explain this!

  8. LOL, no one who is American has to prove they earned the right to vote. It is a right.

    Jesus, where do they come from?

    Never said voter ID was wrong, but it has to be done right

  9. OUTSTANDING !!!! Thank you Gov Walker and the Wisconsin Supreme Court. It’s about time the union members started paying more into the system that they have “collectively” bled dry.

  10. And thank you for using common sense in enacting a law that EVERYONE benefits from. Voter ID laws should be a mandatory requirement in every US state.

  11. So fair wages, a safe workplace and before I forget your paid vacations and health care what have they done to bleed you dry unless you are the 1%, then methinks you wouldn’t be on here with your bullshit

  12. So what is a mandatory ID? I thought you true real ameickkkans was against a government ID? I wish you make your minds up unless you want to be under agenda 21 and fema camps

  13. I’m sorry, but you are wrong. While I personally feel that it is a privilege to vote, in actuality it is a right. I the US rights are not earned or bestowed. They are yours by virtue of birth. Only non citizens have to earn the right to vote by becoming naturalized citizens.

  14. There are those who do not know much about US history, in many farming areas of the states where african americans were working on farms, children were born at home, and families kept births in the family bible, they did not have vehicles to go to town and register the child, these people were hard working and great americans. It was always honored as a record of birth. We have one fantastic lady in NC, in her 90’s she had to
    take a test for the right to vote in the 60’s
    she is still fighting and is 100% more of an american than those who would take her rights away.
    I wonder if anyone questions anchor baby
    Rubio, or Jindal or Canadian Cruz?

  15. But I thought you teahadist was against big gubmint keeping tabs on you real Amerikkkans? Sheesh for once cant you make your minds up

  16. It can be very difficult to obtain a photo ID. Many people must travel to a DMV office to get the required ID. In many places there is only one DMV office for a huge part of the city or state. Public transportation to the DMV can be spotty in some areas. Lines can be long at the DMV, and people must wait for hours, in addition to the hours traveling to and from. And for many they can’t take that much time off during their work day, or they may lose their job. And DMVs are not usually open after 5pm or on weekends. Same if they must go to a Govt office to obtain the ID. Only open 9-5, M-F. So the same problems if they need a birth certificate first to then get the DMV issued ID.
    And for many older people, who have been voting for decades, and for some poorer people, there wasn’t a birth certificate issued for their birth. So how do they get one so they can get the required photo ID?

  17. God I wish our media would do it’s damn job.

    But they are doing their jobs – protecting and propagandizing for the GOP against Democrats.

  18. Of course those RW-Nutters never question anchor-baby, Rubio, Carpetbagger-Cruz, and Confused-Piyush “Bobby” Jinal.

    They’re okay for now because they’re Republican – and the yahoos who are willing to look the other way will deal with those darkies when they’re no longer useful to their White, male, racist goals.

    And if those darkies can prove themselves to their white masters and bow low enough, they just might earn themselves a position in Massah’s house – as “honorable” domestics.

  19. In fact Dems have tried some tactics.

    Just having two elderly Black Panthers show up, unarmed, at a polling place, and… stand around…

    Was enough to send conservative media into a freakout about all kinds of stuff…

  20. Voter ID is no problem in Kochs mother Russia but his has no place in place that were once democracys like Wisconsin. If you ever get to America you would understand. I remember democracy like it was almost yesterday. If you ever were in America you would have watched John wayne movies and he takes out the evil walker and Koch in each movie and saves the people. Some day you may see America or ajohn wayne and see the AMERICAN way is better than walker/kochs mother Russia. they like voter suppression, slave labor and incarcerate all just like kochs uncle joe as david and charles called stalin as a children living in russia.

  21. a court is judges by and for the people and produce justice. This is a Koch operated brothel that never produces justice it incarcerates all just like in kochs Russia. Truth in sentencing has made legal prostitution the judges job. selling themselves for a dime just like in there brothels not courts

  22. some day you will leave your bunker in Russia and see how sick your commy ideals are. Pray to your republican God /Dog .

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