Man allegedly fired for advocating for public awareness of free voter ID’s
Madison – State Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Madison) and Chris Taylor (D-Madison) issued a letter today encouraging Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services Dave Ross to reconsider the firing of an employee after that employee sent an email to colleagues encouraging them to promote access to free state issued identification cards in accordance to Wisconsin’s new photo ID for voting law.
“Wisconsin has a proud tradition of high levels of participation in our democracy and we should do everything we can to encourage that, not squash it,” said Pocan. “Based on this recent firing, it is becoming clear that Governor Walker’s administration pushed for this law to keep certain people from voting and that’s simply shameful.”
Chris Larsen, a mail room employee, was fired September 8, 2011 after sending an email to colleagues encouraging them to promote access to free Wisconsin identification cards that can be obtained for free under Wisconsin’s new photo ID law. The email was in direct opposition to department policy against publicizing people’s rights to free identification cards for voting.
“One would think that Republicans would try to be stealth about their attempts to stifle democracy,” said Taylor. “But instead, Governor Walker’s administration is being pretty bold its intentions to create a back-door poll tax.”
Larsen alleges he was brought into a supervisor’s office shortly after sending the email and fired for violating agency policy to keep the free ID’s under wraps unless a Wisconsinite specifically requests one for purpose of exercising their constitutional right to vote.
“If Mr. Larsen was fired for doing something wrong, that’s one thing,” said Pocan. “But it appears Mr. Larsen was fired for promoting democracy and encouraging the education of the public on a brand new state law. Regardless, the agency should reevaluate their policy with regards to the implementation of Wisconsin’s new photo ID law.”
The letter by Pocan and Taylor received 23 signatures from Democratic legislators. This afternoon, the letter was emailed to Secretary Ross and a hard copy was mailed to his office.