Working with the voter ID law now priority

GUEST OPINION

WE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is an unnecessary burden for some voters, but clerks, poll workers and voters are going to have to work with it.

At a press conference Tuesday, Kevin Kennedy, executive director of the Government Accountability Board, said, “Our job is to administer the law as it’s presented to us and take the partisanship out of it. We’ll do whatever we can in the next 49 days to shed light on it.”

The reference to 49 days means the time before the election - seven weeks from Tuesday. That’s plenty of time in one sense, but considering that the people affected by this may not realize that their lack of a photo ID could be a problem, it’s probably not enough time to prevent some eligible voters from scrambling at the last minute to obtain the identification that they need.

Kennedy pointed out that an estimated 90 percent of voters already have the necessary ID. He said he knows many people have a hard time understanding how anyone could function without a photo ID, Nevertheless, he said, there are people who do not drive and have had no need to get a passport or a state ID.

“We’ll have to emphasize to voters this is what needs to be done,” Kennedy said, meaning that they’ll need to get the required ID.

For many, the largest burden will be the transportation to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In Kenosha County, the DMV office is at 4911 88th Ave. It’s not on a bus route, and it’s not in a place anyone would normally go if they didn’t have a car (The nearest DMV office to Plymouth is in Sheboygan at 3603 Kohler Memorial Dr.).

We think the court should recognize the burden the law creates for some voters, as U.S. District

Judge Lynn Adelman did when he considered the case. In his decision, Adelman pointed out, “They must do whatever it takes to gather the necessary documents and make a special trip to the DMV in order to procure an ID that they will expect to use for no purpose other than to vote.”

Adelman issued an injunction against enforcing the photo ID law, but that was overturned on Friday by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Although the civil rights groups challenging the law are still pursuing legal remedies, the law appears to be in place for November’s elections. It’s not clear exactly how it will affect participation.

Kennedy speculated that all the attention on voting procedures might boost turnout.

“All the attention paid to voter ID might give us a more energized and engaged electorate,” he said. “Hopefully this focuses people on the election, and we get a very high turnout as a result.” — Kenosha News, Sept. 16

At issue:
Voter ID law
Bottom line:
Right or wrong, it’s the law


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