Here’s a slick little two-step from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. He knows that he has caused himself and his party tremendous damage by pursuing a radical right-wing agenda. He is desperate to cling to power so these policies don’t get rolled back. So one of his ideas was to pass a voter ID law to help suppress the vote in future years (this mostly won’t affect the recall elections next month). Responding to the virtually non-existent scourge of voter fraud, the bill disenfranchises low-income voters and the elderly who don’t have a picture ID like a driver’s license. Of course, Republicans could say, these voters need to merely go to any DMV and obtain a picture ID there. Simple, elegant and secure, right? Except Walker is closing down a bunch of DMV’s:
Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is working on finalizing a plan to close as many as 10 offices where people can obtain driver’s licenses in order to expand hours elsewhere and come into compliance with new requirements that voters show photo IDs at the polls.
One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts. [...] Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson, called on the state Department of Transportation to reconsider its plants to close the Fort Atkinson DMV center. The department plans to expand by four hours a week the hours of a center about 30 minutes away in Watertown. [...]
“What the heck is going on here?” Jorgensen said. “Is politics at play here?”
This is just another example of the GOP in Wisconsin transgressing norms. The partisanship at work here is so transparently obvious. In Democratic areas, DMV offices are closing. In Republican areas, they’re expanding their hours. And it comes right at a time when thousands of Wisconsin voters who don’t have a picture ID need to visit a DMV. This is just full-on voter suppression.
It’s possible that, despite these efforts, Walker and the Republicans will be kicked out of office in subsequent months and years. But think of all they’ve done to tilt the playing field their way. They significantly weakened public employee unions to cut off a significant source of Democratic financial support. They rewrote the state’s redistricting maps to maintain an advantage through gerrymandering. They added the voter ID law and are trying to implement it differently depending on the partisan tilt of the neighborhood. They used money from the state’s public financing laws to pay for the voter ID scheme.
Democrats simply have a lot more structural hurdles to surmount to beat Scott Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin.