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    5/9/2008
    Rep. Kevin Petersen: Required: A photo ID to vote

    Identification is required everyday for customary business transactions. Cold medications are kept behind the druggists counter and require a photo ID to purchase. Books cannot be checked out of the Milwaukee Public Library system without photo ID. You can’t cash a check, rent a video, buy beer or get on an airplane without showing that you are who you say you are, so why wouldn’t we make it harder to cheat on something as important as voting?

    On April 28th, the United States Supreme Court declared an Indiana law that requires voters to show a form of state-issued identification in order to vote to be constitutional. In a 6-3 ruling, the court found that Indiana’s provision, one of the strictest election laws in the country, does not prevent citizens from fulfilling their right to vote.

    Representative Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), the original author of Wisconsin’s efforts to require a photo ID at the poll, stated, ”There are no excuses left for not adopting an identification law in Wisconsin that would make it harder to cheat.”

    In the 2005-2006 session, both Wisconsin legislative houses voted to pass a constitutional amendment for voter ID. Voters are granted the opportunity to take part in a statewide referendum on an issue if a constitutional amendment passes in both the Assembly and the Senate for two consecutive legislative sessions.

    This session, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed the constitutional amendment bill for voter ID. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D - Weston) has made it clear that the state Senate has no intention of voting on the amendment. Therefore, because the Wisconsin State Senate refuses to bring this up for a vote, your voice on voter ID will not be heard on a referendum this November.

    United States Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion for the ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Indiana photo ID law. In defense of requiring photo ID he wrote; “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters. Moreover, the interest in orderly administration and accurate recordkeeping provides a sufficient justification for carefully identifying all voters participating in the election process.”

    In the past, Governor Doyle and his allies have fought against this common-sense voting law reform on a number of fronts. They claim it places an undue burden on certain classes of voters, seniors and minorities in particular. They question it’s constitutionality on the grounds that it may deny eligible electors the right to vote.

    The nation’s highest court heard each of these arguments but came to a different conclusion. The aforementioned quote from Justice Stevens, the Court’s most liberal member (according to the New York Times), points out that the risk of voter fraud changing the results of a close election is a compelling reason for states to impose a photo ID requirement on voters.

    As for the undue burden argument, Justice Scalia, one of the Court’s most conservative members, wrote in a concurring opinion that “The law’s universally applicable requirements are eminently reasonable because the burden of acquiring, possessing, and showing a free photo identification is not a significant increase over the usual burdens, and the State’s stated interests are sufficient to sustain that minimal burden.”

    Following is an example of what’s at stake with voter fraud. Each of the last two presidential elections in the state was won with less than 1/3 of one percent of the total vote (5,708 in 2000 and 11,384 in 2004). In 2000, the number of invalid votes and discrepancies were higher than the total margin of victory.

    Every illegal vote in Milwaukee or in our own back yard cancels out an honest one from you. A Wisconsin photo ID law will act as a strong deterrent against voter fraud which disenfranchises voters and hurts the overall integrity of our elections and democracy.

    Kevin Petersen in a Republican and represents residents in the 40th Assembly District.




    COMMENTS

    This idea is purely a Republican one. They hope they can suppress minority votes in urban areas and thus eke out a victory. If you notice nationally it is the Republicans who are supporting these kinds of laws. Democrats in general do not support more things getting in the way of someone wanting to vote. This smacks of fascism and Racism in one fell swoop. It always has and it always will.
    fox cities news, appleton, wi
    Chris Johnson (Sat Sep 13 20:20:14 2008)

    This last comment is illogical. How can it be racist to require proof of citizenship? Are there any adult Americans without a picture ID? Why would the Democratic Party encourage illegitimate voters? I have lived in communities where up to 30% of the residents are foreigners. Why should they vote in our elections? Is it not possible that if a small percent of ineligible voters ruin the election?
    fox cities news, appleton, wi
    Thomas Mccrorey (Sun Sep 28 07:00:17 2008)




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