The state Assembly is set to vote today on a bill requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Republicans say the voter ID requirement is needed to protect the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. Jay Heck of Wisconsin Common Cause is among critics who say the bill is designed to suppress voter turnout. “The real purpose for this is to prevent primarily students, people who live in cities, people of color and elderly people from turning out in the numbers that they have in the past,” said Heck. “While Republicans don’t admit that, that’s clearly what the intent of this legislation is, and that’s the effect it will likely have.”
Heck said the Wisconsin proposal is far more restrictive than voter photo ID requirements in other states. “Wisconsin, if this becomes law, will be the most restrictive in terms of the types of photo ID that you can show,” he said. Heck said the bill will likely cost tens of millions of dollars to implement, and that there’s little evidence of the widespread voter fraud Republicans say they want to prevent. “Republicans say they fear voter fraud, but has there been any? They can’t point to any widespread or even consequential voter fraud at all, and when asked to come up with it, they just say they want to prevent it from occurring. A vote is expected later today in the state Assembly, which met until the early morning hours on another contentious issue, the expansion of Milwaukee’s school choice program.