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October 18, 2017
A letter from State Senator Vinehout
Posted On: Jun 25, 2011

Hello,

Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about Assembly Bill 7, the Voter Photo ID bill. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of my Democratic colleagues and I, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6. Governor Walker signed it into law as 2011 Act 23.

I strongly oppose this unneeded legislation. The incidence of voter fraud in this state is very low. Assembly Bill 7 does little to address the rare instances of voter fraud that does exist.

According to Kevin Kennedy, director of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board (GAB), fewer than two cases of fraud were found for every million votes cast in Wisconsin during the 2004 Election. Of the nearly 3 million people voted 2008, twenty people were charged with voter fraud. Most were convicted felons on probation. The Voter Photo ID bill does not prevent felons from voting because the state does not forbid felons from getting a driver’s license. The bill does nothing to prevent the fraud that does exist in our state.

We must protect the integrity of elections, but we must balance this with the costs of such protections. Assembly Bill 7 will cost taxpayers, at minimum, an additional $15.1 million at a time when schools, universities and local services are facing severe cuts. The cost to disenfranchised voters is incalculable.

This bill creates the strictest voter photo ID requirement in the nation. Fourteen states have some form of photo identification requirement. Of the seven states with strict photo identification requirements, Wisconsin’s is the most restrictive. Wisconsin’s law limits the identification for voting to only an accurate and current state-issued identification, a passport, a tribal ID or a current military ID. Even a veteran’s benefit ID card with a photo is not allowed.

We should be working to encourage voting, not creating roadblocks that make it harder for students, the elderly, minorities and rural residents to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

It is important people understand the new rules. Since the bill is phased in over six months, elections this summer will be different than elections next year when the law is fully implemented. I have attached my weekly columns on this issue and an update from GAB on how the new law applies to recall elections. Please share this information with friends so that no one is denied their constitutional right to vote. If you would like to receive my column or receive updates on voter identification legislation, please e-mail me at Sen.Vinehout@legis.wisconsin.gov or call me toll-free at 877-763-6636.

Thank you again for sharing you views on this issue. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance on this or any other issue of importance.

Sincerely,

Kathleen Vinehout

State Senator
31st District
 

 

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