Recent media reporting on Gov. Scott Walker’s administration violating federal Judge James Peterson’s order in One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen has spurred the plaintiffs to seek a suspension of the state voter ID law. Audio recording provided to the court and reported on by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveal numerous instances of false or misleading information being given out at DMV locations around the state.
“Gov. Walker doesn’t get to pick which laws or which court orders he follows,” commented One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross. “The judge was clear in his ruling and this new evidence shows Gov. Walker and his administration are not following their own rules and they are not complying with the federal court order on the voter ID law,”
In their filing, One Wisconsin Institute provided transcripts of multiple visits to the DMV, some by voters seeking ID. In most cases, DMV employees provided inaccurate information that was inconsistent with how the state claimed the ID petition process should work. In addition, the filing shows roughly one-third of people whose petitions were denied have not received an ID to which they were entitled because they have moved and the state has made little effort to locate them. Finally, the Institute filing cites a lack of outreach by the state to inform people about the ID petition process, and in fact, the state has spent no additional money to advertise the process in response to a previous court order requiring that they notify the public.
The latest reports of bureaucratic malfeasance at the state DMV are not the first when it comes to the state voter ID law. In 2011, immediately after the Republican controlled legislature and Gov. Walker rushed to pass the requirement, it was revealed that a top official at the Department of Transportation directed employees to not volunteer that free IDs were available to low income individuals.
Ross noted that evidence presented over the course of the two-week court trial held in May, gives no reason to trust that the Walker administration would fairly administer the voter ID law. Testimony from a Republican insider revealed that, in their private deliberations, GOP state Senators were “giddy” over the prospects of passing a voter ID law they believed would discourage voting and help them win elections. The witness, under oath, testified that current Republican Senate President Mary Lazich urged her colleagues to consider the impact of voter ID on areas of the state that have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates, including the City of Milwaukee and the state’s college campuses.