BRING VOTER ID TO UNDERSERVED VOTERS…
By Jay Heck, Director of Common Cause/ Wisconsin
Walker and WISDOT never even considered a Mobile Van Program to bring Voter ID to underserved voters. Some former Confederate States make it easier to obtain Voter ID than does Wisconsin.
In June of 2015, Common Cause of Wisconsin and 12 other state and national public interest organizations sent this letter to Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb requesting the establishment of a mobile Division of Motor Vehicles program. The program would have vehicles that visit under-served communities throughout the state to distribute DOT-issued photo ID’s. That would be two of the various forms of ID now required in order to cast a ballot in Wisconsin elections.
The letter was never acknowledged and a follow-up phone inquiry on February 1, 2016 also never received a response, despite assurances that Common Cause would receive one.
On March 3, 2016, CC/WI sent this letter to Governor Scott Walker, requesting that he rectify this situation that his own Department of Transportation has completely ignored. We had hoped to receive his affirmative response in short order as there had only been a little more than four weeks until the April 5th Spring election.
On March 25th, we received this response from WISDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb, which had obviously been forwarded to him from the Governor’s office. In it, Gottlieb talks a lot about how his agency has responded to increasing demands for DOT-issued ID’s, but there is no mention whatsoever about our repeated inquiry into the establishment of mobile vans or some kind of program to bring the required photo ID to underserved rural and urban communities!
In other words, the Walker Administration apparently has not now, nor has it ever – since voter ID was enacted into law five years ago – had any plans to make these required forms of ID needed to vote, easier to procure by setting up a mobile program as other states with a similar photo ID law have done.
Let’s not hear any more nonsense from them that this is not voter suppression. Wisconsinites are not fools.
What Walker and the GOP have been doing since 2011 through 2016 is exactly what constitutes voter suppression. They are making it more difficult for the elderly, rural voters, urban voters, college students and people of color to be able to vote. It is degrading, disgusting and disgraceful that states that were once part of the Old Confederacy – and have a long history of voter suppression such as Alabama, Texas and Virginia – have made it easier for their citizens to obtain required forms of ID than has Wisconsin. Every Wisconsinite should be ashamed and outraged by this blatant attempt to decrease voter turnout, which has been amongst the highest in the nation.
The very best way to counter these anti-democratic measures is to make sure that you have what is required in order for you, your family, friends, neighbors and everyone else to have their votes counted in the upcoming August primary and November general elections. Get that vital information and share it widely.
(Printed with the author’s permission)