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Voter ID Law Divides Legislative Candidates

Candidates seeking election to state offices representing parts of Greendale, Greenfield, Waukesha and Muskego sparred on issues, including the blocked Voter ID bill, at a candidates forum Thursday.

The Democrats said mass voter fraud is a myth, while Republicans argued that voter fraud exists, but is nearly untraceable.

The topic of the state's voter ID law ignited passion from area state Senate and  Assembly candidates, as well as audience members, at a forum held Thursday in Greenfield that was sponsored by Patch and the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County.

“The reason I proposed it is because I think voting is the most precious right we have as citizens of democracy,” said State Rep. Jeff Stone, who authored the voter ID bill and running for re-election in the 82nd Assembly District, which includes Greendale and Greenfield.

State lawmakers passed a bill requiring voters to show IDs before they cast their ballots, but two Dane County judges struck down the law and it will not be in effect for Tuesday's election.

Mass Voter Fraud a Myth?

Democrat Kathleen Weid-Vincent, who is running against Stone, said there has not been a study that shows widespread voter fraud.

Jim Ward, who is running for the 28th District Senate seat against incumbent Mary Lazich, agreed with Weid-Vincent. He said mass voter fraud is a myth and that there is a rate less than 1 percent of voter fraud.

Stone noted four individuals who have been in court for voter fraud.

“It started because there was a hearing in Milwaukee by a woman who was a new citizen and testified that when she went to go vote somebody had already voted in her name,” Stone said.

Lazich said the reason incidents of reported voter fraud are low is because it's difficult to track once it happens. She also noted that residents overwhelmingly favor the law.

"We are responsive to our people because 70 percent of Wisconsinites want voter ID,” Lazich said. “That’s something elected officials have a responsibility to be responsive to.“

Does Law Suppress the Vote?

Democratic candidates said those who commit voter fraud should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, they expressed concern that it was really an attempt to suppress the vote, particularly among senior citizens.

“In 2005, there was UWM study that over 177,000 seniors are without a Wisconsin drivers license or a state ID,” Ward said. “These are people who have voted their entire lives…we’re going to make them get in the bus or find transportation from a nursing home… and make them pay for a drivers license when they don’t even drive anymore.”

Lazich said the law was written compatible to Indiana’s Voter ID, which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The U.S. Supreme Court said photo ID for voting is no way an undue burden on voting rights,” added Stone, who spent more than a decade working on the legislation.

83rd Assembly District Candidates Weigh In

The candidates of the 83rd Assembly District, which includes Muskego and Waukesha, voiced similar thoughts to their parties.

Republican state Rep. David Craig accused the those who took the law to court of delaying a law that has already been declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We know that voter fraud exists,” Craig said. “Why don’t we want to protect a franchise that so many people, so many veterans died to protect? It’s a common sense piece of legislation.”

His Democratic opponent, Jim Brownlow, called the bill unconstitutional and a form of voter suppression.

“This bill was created in the minds of the Koch brothers,” Brownlow said. “There are thousands of people in Wisconsin who would not be eligible to vote if the law were upheld.”

Robert Hansen November 02, 2012 at 09:32 PM
the proposal now carries an extra cost and complexity. don't get your point there.
CowDung November 02, 2012 at 09:39 PM
What are the extra costs? The current way includes the price of an ID for those that don't already have one. Your proposal would be the price of an ID for everyone...
CowDung November 02, 2012 at 09:41 PM
...in addition, your way would require the development of a new national voter database. Current laws proposed use existing voter rolls.
cud1555 November 02, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Lance Armstrong never tested positive for using performance enhancing substances yet apparently he never won the tour du France. There are many accounts that he was doping but in truth, he didn't test dirty. This may mean that despite numerous accounts he never cheated although he has now been judged guilty either way. Does this mean that we should stop testing at all, or not make an effort to catch the Next cheater?
Conservative in Greendale November 02, 2012 at 09:47 PM
karen k- I said 20% the OTHER 80% would include the people with bad hips or physical issues etc. You must be a 99%er with the obvious difficulty your having with percentages. Robert Hansen- voter ID is the first step to a fair and legal election. I think would it make sense that every US citizen of legal voting age should be required to vote. I am surprised the Dem's have not jumped all over that already after all they like forcing people to do things to conform with their ideology.
Jason Patzfahl November 03, 2012 at 01:57 PM
If you actually attended the debate you would know that Jim Ward received the nights only applause line that lasted for more than 30 seconds after he pointed out that less than .001% (11 people in the last 2 presidential campaigns nationally) have been prosecuted for voter fraud and that the risk of disenfranchising hundreds of thousands in order to catch a dozen is not worth the risk. Jim Ward clearly made the point that widespread voter fraud is a myth. Jeff Stone sat there looking stunned and like he had just had his ears batted back by his third grade teacher.
Jason Patzfahl November 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM
If those in attendance at the debate could have cast a ballot Thursday night, I think it safe to say that 80% would have voted Democrat across the ballot. The last question of the night was, "If you could describe in one word, why you should be elected to run you district, what would that word be?" Jeff Stone's response was, "integrity" which probably received the most laughter and chuckles of the night. See you at polling places . . . without your big government issued photo ID.
Spate Cooley November 03, 2012 at 09:27 PM
You lefties really are nuts.
KJD November 03, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Hmmm...I help people apply for programs (and 'hello' you need to prove your identity for foodstamps and Medicaid ...the supposed disinfranchised ) EVERY legal voter can get some proof of identity. Can't win unless you cheat. Chicago politics. Ask Bama why he did not get his Bar results when evryone else did. Investigating him even back then? I wonder?
Keith November 03, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Regarding Alzheimer's. You are painting with a broad brush. As a Republican, you should be more sensitive. Liberals treated Reagan's Alzheimer's with sensitivity and allowed him to finish his term. My guess is that he voted after he left the Presidency.
Keith November 03, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Hawaii does not require a photo ID. It does allow you to register to vote when you are applying for your driver's license. I lived there for 15 years and voted at least 12 times and never had to show ID.
Keith November 03, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Congratulations Spate (if that is your name), you are the first conservative who actually commented using a real name!
Keith November 03, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Why is it that you right wing guys all hide behind fake names or initials? Are you really folks who live here in Greendale or are you paid right wing trolls?
Conservative in Greendale November 04, 2012 at 12:58 AM
If the debate had been promoted to anyone but lefty losers I would have went. It seams the lefty media won't report on something until after it happens. No upcoming events just the garbage they deem important.
AWD November 04, 2012 at 01:02 AM
This just shows how utterly worthless large sections of the minority population are. They cannot even be bothered to get an ID card! I mean it's not like they have jobs and busy schedules holding them back. How pathetic and worthless do you have to be to complain about not being able to vote without an ID? If you are too lazy to get an ID, you do not deserve to vote.
Conservative in Greendale November 04, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Keith- Fake names? I am a conservative in Greendale. I was in Madison three times for the ACT 10 rallies, with the lefty losers spitting at me yelling profanities at my kids, Do you really think I want any of you f---ing lunatics looking me up and visiting me at my home? I do not want to use the castle law in my defense and waste the precious metal called lead on lefty losers. Why don't you use your full name? I would love to drive past your house at midnight on election night honking my horn with glee after the R.R. victory.
Conservative in Greendale November 04, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Wow u shur ar smart your collage ejukashun must have cost alot. GO SMOKE SOME MORE POT YOU F---ING IDOIT! I live in the real world not some strawberry fields like you.
Jason Patzfahl November 04, 2012 at 03:50 AM
This comment about says it all about the right wing POV: "utterly worthless large sections of the minority population..." My 78 year old WHITE grandmother does NOT have a photo ID. She is neither worthless or a minority, but your racist viewpoint has been noted.
Robert Hansen November 04, 2012 at 03:58 PM
@CowDung, so if it costs money it isn't worth fixing your imaginary problem? Works for me, now we can get back to working on the real problems our state faces.
Robert Hansen November 04, 2012 at 04:00 PM
May of us have advocated for a mandatory voting requirement, similar to Australia.
KJD November 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Why don't you help your grandmother get an ID? Does she get Medicare? Highly doubt she doesn't have some proof of her identity. What a total lie.Unless she is here illegally. How long has granny been without proof of ID? What have YOU done to help her? Really sad.
Bunch of mularkey November 04, 2012 at 04:55 PM
If you believe it does not you are one of the offenders. #faultylogic
Bunch of mularkey November 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ah good ole Republican fear mongering!
CowDung November 05, 2012 at 01:37 AM
No Robert, that isn't what I am saying at all. What I am saying is that we can fix the problem for a lot less money than what you have proposed. I have no issue with your proposal from the standpoint of insuring fair elections, but I believe that the similar results could be realized for a lot less money.
CowDung November 05, 2012 at 01:38 AM
I disagree with mandatory voting. I believe that a voter should have the right to abstain from voting if they choose to do so.
CowDung November 05, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Considering that Ward wasn't being truthful in his statement about voter ID, I'm guessing he was telling the audience what they wanted to hear while the other candidates were actually being truthful...
CowDung November 05, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I thought women were considered to be a 'minority' as they are a 'protected class', are they not?
Jason Patzfahl November 05, 2012 at 01:28 PM
She lives 1,200 miles away. And do you know where her 78 year old birth certificate is? We need that, or have to pay for a new one get a photo ID. That is a "poll tax" in my book.
CowDung November 05, 2012 at 02:26 PM
Does she have an expired drivers license and a social security number?
CowDung November 06, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Here's an interesting article about dead people that have been voting long after their deaths... http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Dead-and-Still-Voting-177286281.html Now can we agree that voter fraud does exist?

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