The United Council of UW Students has joined the League of Women Voters in their lawsuit against the implementation of the new Voter Identification bill that was passed this summer.
The new law requires all voters to provide a valid form of ID to election officials, as well as lengthening the residency requirements from 10 to 28 days.
The League of Women Voters fil
ed their lawsuit on the grounds that the Wisconsin constitution says that there are only two classes of people who can’t vote: felons and the incompetent. But under this new law there is a third class: those who don’t have an ID, the suit alleges.
Lawmakers who passed the law claim its intent was to reduce the amount of voter fraud in state and municipal elections.
“There have been two documented cases of voter fraud in about the past 20 years, [and] one of them was an accident, ” said Seth Hoffmeister, the president of United Council.
According to a study released in October by the Brennan Center for Justice, nearly 5 million voters will find it much harder to vote in future elections because of the new law passed by Republican lawmakers.
“It’s an attempt to disenfranchise students and minorities,” Hoffmeister said.
Critics of the law say that it’s an attempt to exclude certain demographics of voters who vote Democratic.
“Students were targeted by this, but it also targets minorities and those who already might not have a valid driver’s license or just based on history have a harder time voting,” Hoffmeister said.
Hoffmeister, who has worked on election campaigns before, said that it’s hard enough to get people out to vote. Now Republican lawmakers have targeted people who usually vote against them and made it harder for them to vote.
Scott Walker, whose name is on the list of defendants in the lawsuit, said that the law is “common sense.”
“We require [common sense] to get a library card, medicine, and public assistance,” Walker said. “I will continue to implement common sense reforms that will protect the electoral process and increase citizens’ confidence in the results of the election.”
But the League of Women Voters President Melanie Ramey said that what Walker is talking about in that statement is generally based in business decisions of companies and are not the rights of citizens.
For more information and updates on the lawsuit, visit the League of Women Voters’ website.