GOP May Push Through New Voter ID Law


Opponents of a new bill want more time to study the legislation that would require photo ID and repeal a ban on corporate campaign contributions.

Republican supporters say it needs to be passed quickly so clerks can be trained in time for next spring’s elections.

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Wisconsin’s voter ID law is currently tied up in the courts. Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, believes his revised bill would be constitutional. Those who can’t afford a photo ID would have to reveal to election officials their lack of income or sign an affidavit why they don’t have a birth certificate to get an ID: “This is very similar to Indiana’s current photo ID law that was held in the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Walworth County Clerk Kimberly Bushey says all the rule changes can be daunting. She ended her testimony to lawmakers with three words:

“Simplify, simplify, simplify. Because we’re losing good people who are election officials out of fear, because the rules are hard.”

Opponents of the bill called for majority Republicans to slow down the process, and at least get a fiscal estimate of the cost to taxpayers before the Assembly elections committee votes on bill later this week. At 78 pages, the bill covers a lot.

The executive director of a group that tracks campaign donations said the bill favors special interests over the average voter. Mike McCabe directs the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

“On the one hand, you have less time for early voting; on the other hand, you have more time for lobbyists to make campaign donations. It is not hard to see whose side this bill is on.”

Speaker Robin Vos, R-Burlington, said he expects to have Stone’s omnibus election bill on the Assembly floor by the end of June. Common Cause director Jay Heck noted this bill, unlike other pending election bills, has no Democratic support. Without that, he says any law that passes is likely to be undone by the other party when – and if – they take control.