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AFL-CIO Now

Wisconsin Voter ID Bill Is Morally Wrong

This is a cross-post from the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO by Karen Hickey in AFL-CIO Field Communications.

Scott Walker continued his attack on the people of Wisconsin today as he signed Act 22 into law.

With one stroke of his pen at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, Gov. Walker stripped hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites of their constitutional right to vote. Despite no systematic evidence of voter fraud, Gov. Walker and his GOP allies decided to make voter suppression a top priority for the state, fast tracking the bill before recall elections could occur against GOP senators this summer and further illustrating that many in the Wisconsin Legislature are working for themselves instead of the people of Wisconsin.

Before we ask where are the jobs? Let’s take a look at who this act will affect:

According to a 2005 study by UW Milwaukee Driver License Status of Voting Age Population those without state-issued photo ID who would need to obtain one to vote include:

  • 23% of elderly Wisconsinites over the age of 65.
  • 17% of white men and women.
  • 55% of African American males and 49% of African American women.
  • 46% of Hispanic men and 59% of Hispanic women.
  • 78% of African American males age 18-24 and 66% of African American women age 18-24.

“Why are we making it harder for the people of Wisconsin to participate in their democracy?” asked Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Why are we confusing voters, disenfranchising voters and denying thousands of Wisconsinites their voice in the electoral process? I had hoped that in 2011, the principle of universal suffrage would be beyond debate but in Scott Walker’s world that is not the case. We need our elected officials to focus on job creation and a fair economy, not address a manufactured problem of voter fraud.”

“It is clear that the intentions behind the voter suppression law are to silence large portions of the population who tend to vote against Republicans,” explained Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Act 22 will deny access to the polls for many legitimate voters who have every right to cast their ballots and have them counted. To make it more difficult for someone to be heard in a democracy, simply because you do not like what they have to say is shameful.”

Click here to watch Sen. Lena Taylor explain why voter ID is morally wrong to the Senate floor.

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