She’d lost her driver’s license a few days earlier, but she came prepared with an expired Wisconsin state ID and proof of residency. A poll worker confirmed she was registered to vote at her current address. But this was Wisconsin’s first major election that required voters—even those who were already registered—to present a current driver’s license, passport, or state or military ID to cast a ballot. Anthony couldn’t, and so she wasn’t able to vote.
The poll worker gave her a provisional ballot instead. It would be counted only if she went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new ID and then to the city clerk’s office to confirm her vote, all within 72 hours of Election Day. But Anthony couldn’t take time off from her job as an administrative assistant at a housing management company, and she had five kids and two grandkids to look after. For the first time in her life, her vote wasn’t counted.
…“I felt like the right to vote was being stripped away from me.”
…Clinton’s stunning loss in Wisconsin was blamed on her failure to campaign in the state, and the depressed turnout was attributed to a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate.
…The impact of Wisconsin’s voter ID law received almost no attention. When it did, it was often dismissive.
…Voter suppression efforts were practically ignored, when they weren’t mocked.
…when the measure was challenged in court, the state couldn’t present a single case of voter impersonation that the law would have stopped. “It is absolutely clear that [the law] will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes,” Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in a 2014 decision striking down the law. Adelman’s ruling was overturned by a conservative appeals court panel.
…After the election, registered voters in Milwaukee County and Madison’s Dane County were surveyed about why they didn’t cast a ballot. Eleven percent cited the voter ID law and said they didn’t have an acceptable ID; of those, more than half said the law was the “main reason” they didn’t vote.
…Its impact was particularly acute in Milwaukee, where nearly two-thirds of the state’s African Americans live, 37 percent of them below the poverty line.
…A post-election study by Priorities USA, a Democratic super-PAC that supported Clinton, found that in 2016, turnout decreased by 1.7 percent in the three states that adopted stricter voter ID laws but increased by 1.3 percent in states where ID laws did not change. Wisconsin’s turnout dropped 3.3 percent. If Wisconsin had seen the same turnout increase as states whose laws stayed the same, “we estimate that over 200,000 more voters would have voted in Wisconsin in 2016,” the study said. These “lost voters”—those who voted in 2012 and 2014 but not 2016—”skewed more African American and more Democrat” than the overall voting population.
…Under the terms of a court order resulting from ongoing litigation over the voter ID law, within six business days the DMV should have given Moore a credential he could use for voting. Instead, a clerk told him to go down to Illinois, get his birth certificate, and come back to the DMV. That would cost Moore money he didn’t have. If he entered Wisconsin’s ID Petition Process, it would take six to eight weeks for him to get a voter ID and he most likely would not be able to vote on Election Day.
…It might be tempting to chalk up interactions like Moore’s to the general hellish nature of a trip to the DMV. But by this point, there was already plenty of evidence that Wisconsin’s shoddy implementation of the law was a feature, not a bug.
…It wasn’t just poor African Americans who were disenfranchised. Most college IDs were not accepted under the law because they didn’t require signatures or have the state-mandated two-year expiration date—a criterion that made little sense at four-year schools. Only 3 of the 13 four-year schools in the University of Wisconsin system had IDs compliant with the new law.
That meant many schools, including UW-Madison, had to issue separate IDs for students to use only for voting, an expensive and confusing process for students and administrators. In addition to needing these new IDs to vote, students at private colleges and universities had to bring them to register to vote as well, in addition to a proof-of-enrollment form. (Public university students needed either the ID or the proof of enrollment.)* There were more than 13,000 out-of-state students at UW-Madison alone who were eligible to vote but couldn’t do so without going through this byzantine process if they lacked a Wisconsin driver’s license or state ID. (UW-Madison ultimately issued more than 7,300 voter IDs for the 2016 general election.)
…Wisconsin’s Legislature cut early voting from 30 days to 12, reduced early voting hours on nights and weekends, and restricted early voting to one location per municipality, hampering voters in large urban areas and sprawling rural ones.* It also added new residency requirements for voter registration, eliminated staffers who led statewide registration drives, and made it harder to count absentee ballots.
1.) No shit, Sherlock?