Yesterday in ‘Trying to Vote’


A county judge in Wisconsin yesterday put on hold the state’s new law requiring voters to show ID they never had to show before. Dane County Judge David Flanagan, who appears to be no fan of Governor Walker’s, wrote that the law had a particularly hard effect on minorities, the poor and the elderly, and that it serves to keep people from exercising their right to vote. From his temporary injunction (pdf):

The forty uncontested affidavits offer a picture of carousel visits to government offices, delay, dysfunctional computer systems, misinformation and significant investment of time to avoid being turned away at the ballot box.

Also yesterday, Tennessee voted under that state’s new law requiring voters to show a photo ID. Former Marine Tim Thompson showed up at the polls and refused to show his ID or to vote with a provisional ballot. Cameras rolled as he challenged a poll worker over the new law (h/t @icnorth). The Brad Blog rounds up the considerable local coverage of what happened, including this from the Tennessean:

“We just fought a war to bring democracy to Iraq,” Thompson said. “Now, we’re passing laws that restrict and bring conditions to our right to vote. I sacrificed my right to vote in order to make this statement.”

Or consider the story of the 86-year-old veteran in Ohio who couldn’t vote yesterday because his new ID from the Veterans Administration didn’t have a street address. Paul Carroll had lived in the same town for nearly 40 years. The poll worker told the Cleveland Plain Dealer she felt “so bad” about it.

You could look at these incidents and say they don’t amount to much – a frustrated voter here, a frustrated voter there. Or you could say that in the name of protecting the integrity of elections, we’re protecting legitimate voters out of a fundamental right. And if it’s real vote fraud you’re looking for, the news suggests starting with the politicians.


Tennessee and Wisconsin

Yesterday in 'Trying to Vote'