Monday, January 30, 2006


Doyle vetoes voter ID bill, but fight continues
GOP pledges to push for constitutional amendment

Posted: Aug. 12, 2005

Madison - For the third time, Gov. Jim Doyle on Friday vetoed a bill that would have required voters to show a photo ID, saying it would have disenfranchised the elderly and poor who do not have driver's licenses or state-issued proof of identity.
"Senate Bill 42 unfairly restricts the right to vote at the expense of far too many of Wisconsin's law-abiding, elderly citizens," Doyle said. "Under this proposal, nearly one-quarter of Wisconsin's elderly population could be disenfranchised. I cannot allow that to happen." The Republicans who sponsored the measure, Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale) and Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan), said they would now push to amend the Wisconsin Constitution to add a requirement that voters must show a photo ID. Stone said that changing the constitution would take until 2007, at the earliest, and be like "using a sledgehammer," compared to the relatively simple process of writing a new law that would require a photo ID to vote. Republicans control the Legislature, but not by the two-thirds majority needed to override vetoes of the governor. Republican leaders want a first vote on the constitutional amendment this fall. "Maybe it's time to take the governor out of the equation and go directly to the people," Leibham said. A proposed constitutional amendment must pass two sessions of the Legislature, so the second vote could not come until 2007. After that, the measure would bypass the governor and go directly to the voters in a statewide referendum. 'No legitimacy' Leibham said Doyle's criticism that a photo ID law would keep the elderly and ill from voting has "no legitimacy," because the bill he vetoed Friday exempted anyone living in an assisted-living facility or nursing home from the photo ID requirement.

Doyle scolded Republicans for sending him the bill. "Hopefully, they will realize that if they actually want to get something done, they need to get to work in a bipartisan way on a sensible election reform package," Doyle said, referring to election-related changes he has recommended. The governor did sign into law one of those changes (AB 61), allowing communities to share poll workers if not enough local residents are available. It allows municipal clerks and other elections administrators to waive residency requirements for some poll workers. Assembly Speaker John Gard (R-Peshtigo) and Leibham said Republicans rewrote the photo ID law because of some of the governor's objections. "The governor has got to work with the Legislature, as well," Leibham said. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) said he wasn't yet ready to "run to the constitution" to require voters to show a photo ID. Trying to negotiate a compromise Doyle will ultimately accept is "far from dead," Kedzie added.

"Jim Doyle is single-handedly standing in the way of the most significant step we can take to fix Wisconsin's broken election system," said U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Green Bay), who is running for governor. "Unfortunately, he's made it very clear the only way Wisconsin will ever achieve significant election reform is to remove him from office." The other GOP candidate for governor, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker, said Doyle signed into law a bill requiring a photo ID to buy some cold medicines - a move to limit the production of the drug methamphetamine - but won't accept the same requirement to vote.
Doyle is "another liberal from Madison," Walker added.

Rewriting Wisconsin election laws are at the top of the agenda of state officials in the Capitol for several reasons:
• Signs of fraud and inaccurate or misleading vote counts in Milwaukee and elsewhere in the November presidential vote, and federal and state investigations of those problems.
What touched off the probes were Journal Sentinel stories that reported a vote gap, with more ballots cast than people recorded as voting in the presidential election, in Milwaukee. There were also 1,200 votes cast from invalid addresses, and investigators said 200 felons voted illegally, and more than 100 other people voted fraudulently.


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