Claiming that we need Voter ID is an easy political statement. Especially for Republicans. It's about the best politics a Republican legislator can get involved with, since it's popular with the voters and it hurts Democrats. Win-win.
This time, however, the Republicans may have overplayed their hand. While most GOP efforts to establish Voter ID have the simple effect of depressing turnout among people at the bottom of the GOP totem pole (poor, minorities), the voter ID bill proposed by Rep. Jeff Stone will end up angering more than a few rich white voters as well. Uh oh.
The only acceptable IDs the bill accepts are Wisconsin driver's licenses, Wisconsin identification cards or military identification cards. Why not student IDs? Why not out-of-state driver's licenses? If a person is able to produce a proof of residency with a utility bill, why can't he corroborate his identity with a UW student ID? Or the driver's license from the state she recently moved from?
Why? Why? Why?
Because although there will certainly be Republican voters inconvenienced by the stringent requirements, in the aggregate, this bill will do wonders for the GOP at the polls. It will deter thousands of students and low-income people in the inner city from voting. The GOP can help its cause by getting Americans for Prosperity to put up one of those ominous signs in poor neighborhoods that threaten people with jail time if they mess up with their registration.
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