Monday, January 31, 2011

Will Republicans include Student ID’s in the Wisconsin Voter ID Bill? Are you kidding?

Republicans might tell you they’re not trying to suppress student and minority voters, but they would be lying. Why then would Republican state legislators forget to include student ID’s and passports in the new law?
jsonline: The state's chief election officer recommended changes Wednesday to a bill that would require voters to show photo IDs at the polls, including allowing student IDs and passports to be used for voting.
Which drew this shocking respsonse:
Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the committee chairwoman, said after the hearing that she wanted to see what the photo IDs issued by UW schools look like before deciding whether to allow them.
Yes, that was the committee chair overseeing the change, admitting she had not even considered or viewed our own state issued university ID card. But Lazich’s comment is softball stuff compared to another state Republicans shot at student voters.

A Republican bill in New Hampshire has stripped away all the conservative double talk, about restoring confidence in our elections, and outright bans out of state students from voting. According to Jonathan Turley:
New Hampshire Rep. Gregory Sorg (R- Grafton County) is being accused of trying to prune the voter rolls of presumed liberal voters by barring college students from voting. His “Voters Attending Institutions of Learning” would tell students to vote back home.
The law would establish that “the domicile for voting purposes” of a college student would be the town or city “in which such person had his or her domicile immediately prior to matriculation (admitted into a group, especially a college or university)… even though his or her intent to return thereto is uncertain.”
So, even if the student does not reside in another state and has no plans to return to the earlier state, New Hampshire will refuse to recognize his or her domicile for purposes of voting?  
I have serious constitutional doubts over the viability of the law, particularly in terms of vagueness and equal protection.
However, it is the motivation that is now being questioned after the release of comments by Speaker of the House William O’Brien (R-Hillsborough), who told a conservative group that college students registering to vote on Election Day “are basically doing what I did when I was a kid and foolish, voting as a liberal.”
Foolish youthful liberals. An amazing admission. Fraud you say, really…
Supporters, however, insist that college students increase the danger of voting fraud in the state.
It would bar these voters on highly speculative grounds to fighting voter fraud without a showing that such fraud is the direct result of college students voting or that such fraud can be avoided without disenfranchising young people.
Notably, while politicians are constantly complaining about young people not being involved in politics and voting, this bill would bar students from getting involved. I am astonished not to see any response from educational organizations in opposition to this proposal.
One hope remains for Wisconsin voters:
David Canon, a University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist said the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Indiana's photo ID requirement, but Wisconsin's law could be found unconstitutional if more types of IDs aren't allowed.

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