The opposite of disgust: Voter ID out in Wisconsin and Texas

I have written here before about the uselessness of voter ID laws except as a means to disenfranchise segments of our population.  With that in mind, I was very happy to learn today that a judge in Wisconsin ruled that state’s voter ID law to be in violation of their state constitution and that the Justice Department blocked Texas from enacting their voter ID law.

Judge rules voter ID law unconstitutional by The Associated Press and Patrick Marley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mar. 12, 2012

A Dane County judge permanently enjoined the state’s new voter ID law on Monday – the second judge in a week to block the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls.

A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence – the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote – imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people,” said the eight-page opinion by Dane County Judge Richard Niess. “It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution. This is precisely what 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 does with its photo ID mandates.”  (Emphasis added.)

I couldn’t agree more, Judge Niess.  As I recall from my high school government classes at Madison West High School, Wisconsin at one point was at the forefront of expanding access to voting by implementing such (at the time) radical ideas such as day of registration.  It is good to see the Badger State getting back on that path.

The same article also refers to the Texas case:

The decision came the same day the U.S. Department of Justice blocked Texas’ voter ID law, which it said would disproportionately affect Hispanic voters because they are less likely to have appropriate identification.

Wisconsin and Texas were two of the seven states the passed voter ID laws after Republicans swept statehouses in the 2010 elections. Supporters argue the new laws prevent voter fraud and boost confidence in the election system. Detractors note documented instances of voter impersonation are incredibly rare and say the laws will disenfranchise voters.

Score two for those of us who believe that unfettered access to voting is a right that needs to be protected!


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