Posted by: JanF | October 13, 2014

There is no place for voter suppression in a democracy. Period.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the largest circulation paper in Wisconsin and the paper of record for the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, penned a scathing editorial calling out the Republican legislature for their attempt to disenfranchise those who would vote for Democrats.

The editorial is in response to the blistering opinion from 7th Circuit Court Judge Richard Posner about that court’s big sloppy kiss to Gov. Scott Walker and his re-election campaign.

From the Journal-Sentinel editorial:

Five appeals court judges gave their colleagues the what-for Friday in a bark-peeling attack rarely seen in the legal genre. Led by Judge Richard A. Posner, himself a convert to the idea that voter ID equals voter suppression (good for him), the judges called the idea of voter fraud by impersonation “a mere fig leaf for efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government.”

Which is precisely what is afoot in Wisconsin.

It has been clear from the day this rancid idea began working its way through the state Legislature that this was all about winning elections and not about the integrity of those elections. Voter ID makes it harder for certain classes of voters to exercise the franchise, including minorities, the elderly and the young. The fact that those categories of voters tend to favor Democrats should tell you all you need to know about the motivations of Republican legislators.

It’s about winning, baby, which is about integrity only in the sense that up is about down or that white is about black.

The editorial goes on to call out Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen who is contemplating an end around the Supreme Court’s ruling that Wisconsin’s voter id law cannot be used in the November 4th election. How, pray tell, does one defy the Supreme Court of the United States of America? Maybe J.B. stand for Jefferson Beauregard and he will rally the other crazee Republicans who wanted to include secession in the Wisconsin GOP platform this past summer to foment rebellion? Or maybe he is simply an idiot.


Judge Posner is a Reagan appointee and the judge who wrote the opinion on the Indiana voter id law, Crawford, which was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court (yes, the same Supreme Court that is awful when it will not rule in favor of Republicans but is deemed brilliant and unimpeachable when it props up right-wing ideology). He has come to regret that decision mainly because he did not realize how it would be used against democracy.

His opinion from last Friday (PDF) is worth reading in its entirety because of gems like this:

“Some of the ‘evidence’ of voter-impersonation fraud is downright goofy, if not paranoid,” Posner continued, “such as the nonexistent buses that according to the ‘True the Vote’ movement transport foreigners and reservation Indians to polling places.”

And because it reflects the best of the judiciary: a political appointee who refuses to play ideological favorites when confronted with a clear violation of not only the constitution but the intent of the founders of our country.

The right to vote is the most basic right of a democracy and voter suppression, couched as “integrity” has no business being passed into law much less upheld by our courts.

The final chapter on the Wisconsin Voter ID law has not been written yet. The 7th Circuit has ruled that it is perfectly okay to disenfranchise those who don’t have the money for the poll tax. The ACLU will be appealing that ruling to the Supreme Court.

But this year Wisconsinites, even those without state approved ids, will have the chance to turn out those who owe allegiance not to the constitution but to their political party.

When WI vote, WI win. Vote to protect the most basic right from those who would prefer we not be allowed to vote.

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