October 20, 2014

Senate passes Voter ID

A bill requiring a photo ID at a polling place passed the state Senate but Democrats say it was done so unlawfully. The chamber reconvened this morning to take up Voter ID after a lengthy debate Tuesday stretched into early Wednesday morning.

At the start of this morning’s session, Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said the chamber would vote after one hour of debate. Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) asked why the debate is being limited “on something that is this important.”

Sen. Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) responded saying issues surrounding the legislation have been adequately addressed in committee, in the Assembly and during the Senate’s nine-hour debate this week.

“I think this is a topic that has certainly received a great deal of debate not only here but throughout the state,” said Fitzgerald.

Democratic lawmakers said during their statements, claims of voter fraud have been greatly exaggerated with only about a dozen cases convicted in Wisconsin since the 2008 election.  Sen. Frank Lasee (R-DePere) said most voters support fair elections, “because one fraudulent vote cancels out a legal vote.”

At 11 AM, as promised, Ellis interrupted the statements of Sen. Fred Risser (D-Madison) to bring about a vote including issuing a roll call. Democrats immediately asked to adjourn in an effort to delay a vote. The request was ignored by Ellis, “No adjournment can be made during a roll call. Read the book!”

The bill passed 19-to-5, eight Democrats did not vote.

Senate Democrats met with reporters afterward claiming Ellis’ actions were in violation of the law. Sen. Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) says the adjournment rule “takes precedence over everything.” The Dems claimed legal action may be taken over the “violations.”

Governor Walker praised the bill’s passage in a release. “Protecting the integrity of our elections is central to ensuring our government has the full faith and confidence of the citizens it represents.” He is scheduled to sign the bill Wednesday.

AUDIO: Brian Moon reports (1:17)