Voter ID is going to be a disaster, all right | WisCommunity

Voter ID is going to be a disaster, all right

[img_assist|nid=44419|title=Our near future|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=120|height=93]The Wisconsin Voter ID Law, which might also be called the Help Republicans Win Elections Act, hasn't even taken full effect yet but is already causing grief at the polls. Mischievous Republicans ostensibly enacted Voter ID to curb virtually non-existent voter fraud, using another of those GOP-designed "tools" that's really designed to suppress the  votes of people likely to vote for the other guys.

I went to vote this morning at my precinct in the recall primary election for the state Senate district now seating Alberta Darling. Of course, I chose Democratic Rep. Sandy Pasch over Republican ofuscator Gladys Huber, who is running as a Democrat but is actually GOP.

[When I got back home and logged in, I found out about more GOP trickery. an out-of-state, right-to-life group has been robo-calling Wisconsin voters telling them to wait to get an absentee ballot in the mail rather than voting today.As the state AFL-CIO noted, "this is false information, sent out in recorded phone calls by out-of-staters who want to keep us from voting today in the recall election." More at the link below.] 

It was reasonably busy when I arrived at the table for my ballot (vote totals in our ward were 44 in the first ten minutes after the polls opened). And, indeed, the line of prospective voters was stacking up though not entirely because of high turnout. Why? Because the election workers were obliged under the new Voter ID law to tell each of us that next year we'd have to show official ID. Then they asked each of us if we'd like to show our ID right then and there -- just a run-through, because ID is not yet obligatory. But whether you chose to show ID, you did have to sign the poll list, a new requirement, which added precious seconds to each transaction, causing the queue to grow longer.

When the venerable election worker asked me if I'd like to show my ID, I replied, "No, I'd like to exercise my freedom to use vanishing common-sense public policy once last time." He smiled, and I got my ballot. But other voters were (in some cases with apparent eagerness) whipping out their wallets and purses to show their driver licenses. Thank goodness some other middle-aged dude wearing a bike helmet like mine didn't try to pass himself off as me and vote frauduently for a Republican posing as a Democrat!

This is going to be a disaster in a heavy turnout, statewide election, such as next fall's presidential contest. People won't have proper ID or will be slow to produce it or slow to sign their names. There will be some confusion and some protests and much discussion. And it will slow down the vote, especially in wards and precincts where a high number of voters don't have official ID and will be turned away but nonetheless have to be addressed on the spot. Some of them will return later with the proper ID, taking up more time in the voting queue. Others will cast provisional ballots, never knowing if their vote is actually ever counted (how's that for helping Americans vote?). Others won't make it through the line to even be questioned about their voting privileges.

So my advice to the entire voting population of Democrats and progressives is this: Vote early at your clerk's office or -- in future elections but not TODAY's elections -- vote absentee and help clear the lines at voting places, so more citizens can vote, and so we can retain some semblance of belief in democracy.


July 12, 2011 - 9:04am