You’ll be showing ID at the polls, if Republicans in the legislature finally have their way. State Senator Joe Leibham, the bill’s Senate author, said having voters show a photo identification card before being allowed to cast a ballot in Wisconsin elections is a reasonable requirement in exchange for protecting those same voters from administrative errors or voter fraud. “Not only are there specific cases of fraudulent activity that have taken place in Wisconsin in the recent past, but there is great concern by, I believe the majority of citizens and a lack of confidence in our election process,” said the Sheboygan Republican.
But the requirement is a solution in search of a problem, according to Scott Ross of One Wisconsin Now, who noted there’s been little verified voter fraud in Wisconsin elections. “Steve Biskupic, who was the U.S. Attorney, appointed by George W. Bush for the eastern part of Wisconsin, successfully prosecuted three cases. After two years of investigations, Republican Attorney General J.B.Van Hollen found eleven cases of possible improper votes.”
Voter photo identification has been a long sought goal of Republicans in the legislature, who now have the majority, and a governor in Scott Walker who supports the measure. “I was the author of bill ten years ago when I was in the legislature,” said Walker. “I think there’s a fair number of people that would like to have that in place by the spring elections of this year, having an impact on a number of key local races as well as the state Supreme Court.” Leibham said lawmakers will move prudently to get the bill to Walker’s desk. “If that can happen by April, I think it would be a good thing, but we’re going to be prudent in making sure this can be implemented in an appropriate time frame.”
As for costs, the requirement “will potentially cost some additional money to the state and to state taxpayers,” Leibham said. “And that’s why it’s going to be a budget buster,” said ONE’s Ross. “They need to be honest with us about the cost of this.”