Cap Times editorial Posted: Friday, March 2, 2012
University of Wisconsin political scientist Ken Mayer is one of the most serious and responsible analysts of the politics of the state. Widely respected as fair player, whose work is well regarded by members of both major political parties, Mayer is someone conservatives and liberals listen to for reasoned comment on the political processes of the state. So when Mayer talks about the challenges raised by Wisconsin’s new voter ID law, we should all take him seriously.
In testimony this week before Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan, Mayer estimated that roughly 220,000 potential voters would be unable to cast ballots in coming elections because of the new voter identification measure.
In his testimony on a motion for a temporary injunction against the law sought by the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, Mayer said his estimate was based on a 2005 analysis by a UW-Milwaukee professor that showed a “surprisingly large” number of people in Wisconsin lack valid driver’s licenses — a key form of ID. Additionally, Mayer argued that the state Department of Transportation’s estimates for individuals with proper ID are flawed.
When attorneys for the state questioned Mayer about the error rate, he said that “the error is more likely to increase the number of people who lack ID, but I can’t say how much. I made an effort to be conservative.”
Countering arguments by the state that it would be possible for voters to obtain other forms of identification before the April Wisconsin election, Mayer explained that “for some people it’s extremely difficult if not virtually impossible to obtain a photo ID.”
”Wisconsin’s law is the strictest requirement in the country,” said Mayer, who noted that remedies available in other states with ID requirements were not available under Wisconsin’s law.
Mayer’s testimony was powerful — and damning.
It is difficult to imagine that Flanagan would refuse to issue the temporary injunction.
Such a failure would run the risk of disqualifying voters who want to cast ballots for the municipal, school board and county posts that make the most definitional decisions regarding the delivery of public services, the education of our children, the taxes that Wisconsinites pay and the priorities for spending revenues that are raised. Nothing could be more damaging to the very premise of democracy.
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Read more: http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/a-powerful-argument-for-blocking-wisconsin-s-voter-id-law/article_5ec2a229-0365-57e8-b6ea-d391c2f2d85e.html#ixzz1o19GYwqa