Voter disenfranchisement bill circulated as GOP social agenda items outnumber GOP jobs bills
Madison – As week two begins for Wisconsin’s Republican-run government, GOP members and leaders continue to push a legislative agenda consisting of radical social policies, rather than job creating legislation. Following the circulation of controversial “Voter ID” legislation last week, State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) commented on the continued neglect toward struggling families and job creation by Wisconsin Republicans.
“This is not what the people of Wisconsin asked of us,” said Rep. Grigsby. “How many jobs are created through voter disenfranchisement? We are supposed to be putting people to work, not keeping them from the polls.”
Aside from being unrelated to economic recovery efforts in Wisconsin, Grigsby also noted the volatility and negative fiscal impact that a Voter ID proposal will have on the state.
Authored by Representative Jeff Stone and Senator Joe Leibham, the soon-to-be introduced Voter ID legislation closely resembles a voter disenfranchisement law in Indiana, where it was struck down by an Indiana state court in September 2009. The contentious nature of the
issue and the constitutional issues surrounding it make costly lawsuits against any Voter ID law in Wisconsin likely, causing unnecessary legal battles and the waste of limited taxpayer dollars.
In a 2005 state fiscal estimate analyzing the cost of Voter ID legislation in the state, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation stated that such a proposal could cost the state over one million dollars annually. Rep. Grigsby highlighted estimates from late last year by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau that suggested Wisconsin’s now-cancelled high-speed rail line could have been funded at a similar cost.
“Estimates show that Voter ID could have the same cost as the high speed rail line that Republicans killed,” Grigsby said.
“The difference, however, is that high speed rail would have created jobs, whereas this radical social agenda item does nothing but disenfranchise minorities, students, the elderly, and the poor from their constitutional right to vote. Our focus must be on creating jobs.
Let’s not insult the voters of Wisconsin by ignoring their needs and pursuing efforts that are both unwanted and unnecessary.”