Thursday, September 18, 2014

6000 IDs a day

Two weeks ago I wrote about the voter-ID law in Georgia and the data that shows it is discriminatory. A few days later I had lunch with my friend and debate partner. He talked about advocacy groups that would not let such discrimination stand.

Suits by advocacy groups were indeed brought against the voter-ID law in Wisconsin. Alas, the 7th Circuit just ruled that the stay against the law must be lifted. The report on NPR doesn't go into the ruling. Instead, it discusses the chaos such a ruling has 50 days before an election. For instance, absentee ballots have been sent out, but they won't be counted unless the requester returns to the city clerk's office and shows an ID. How are those voters going to be told that is a necessary step?

I went searching for other sources, trying to get some explanation rather than having to wade through the text of the ruling. Some of what I found:

There are about 300,000 Wisconsin voters without a proper ID. How does the state issue 6,000 IDs a day between now and the election?

According to an editorial in the New York Times the voter-ID law was pushed through by (infamous) Gov. Scott Walker, who is now in a very close race for a second term. The law was revised in July to make it easier to get an ID if a person couldn't afford one or didn't have the required documents, such as a birth certificate. The 3-judge panel of the 7th Circuit didn't rule on whether the law was constitutional. Instead, they ruled that those recent changes to the law were sufficient to remove the stay until the basic question is answered. They made that ruling only hours after hearing the case. The Times calls this ruling a "big mistake." The Supremes could reinstate the stay.

From the Times article:
Notably not on Friday’s panel was Richard Posner, the Seventh Circuit judge who upheld a similar voter-ID law in Indiana in 2007. The Supreme Court subsequently affirmed that decision, but both Judge Posner and Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the opinion for the court, have since said they were wrong, and had misunderstood the true nature of voter-ID laws.
That Judge Posner is the one who did the delightful smackdown of the Wisconsin same-sex marriage ban. Too bad he wasn't part of the 3-judge panel that decided this mess.

A second NPR story is about advertisements that use double entendres to encourage young people to register and to vote. One, put out by the NRA, shows a father pulling a box from a closet. But there isn't a gun inside, instead there is a voter registration card.

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