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Wisconsin bill proposed with hopes of deterring voter fraud

Wisconsin voters may be faced with a change during the next election if the state's Legislature accepts a new bill that would require voters to show specific photo IDs in order to vote. Currently, the bill proposes that voters can only use three types of IDs to vote: a Wisconsin driver's license, a military ID, and a Wisconsin ID.

A proposed change seeks to include other photos IDs, such as passports and student IDs, which can be used to prove identification to vote. And while two opposing viewpoints have emerged in regards to photo IDs, the root of the debate is a form of identity theft known as voter fraud.

Since the election in the fall of 2008, Wisconsin officials have been concerned with voter fraud. But is this new law necessary? If the bill is passed, it will be the strictest voting ID requirement bill in the nation. But will it actually prevent voter fraud?

Those who support the bill are certain that by requiring specific types of photo IDs, there will be fewer attempts to vote for someone else. The bill also has specific exemptions for individuals who are unable to go to the polls, such as those living in retirement homes.

But is there a need? Those who are hesitant to support the bill argue that voting requirements should be changed only if there is a real need. The Milwaukee County District Attorney stated that there is no evidence of any type of large-scale voter fraud that would compel the need for a bill such as the one being proposed.

One main concern is that, without the proposed changes, the bill severely limits access to voting. It may be one thing to require photographic identification, but is limiting the types of photo IDs to a very small number going too far?

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online, "Changes to voter ID bill suggested," Patrick Marley, 26 January 2011

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