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Wisconsin voters should expect new voter ID requirements

In a previous post, we mentioned that legislators were concerned about identity theft and the implication that it would increase voter fraud. Legislators had proposed a bill earlier this year that would limit Wisconsin voters to showing one of three types of identification in order to cast a vote.

But now, Wisconsin joins ten other states that requires photo ID before being allowed to vote. Just last week, the governor of Wisconsin signed the bill, making a photo identification required in order to vote. The law would take effect immediately, yet still would provide some margin for Wisconsin constituents who are not aware of the change in the law.

Some legislators who opposed the bill are still wondering whether this is an effort to suppress voting rights. Is this bill just making it more difficult for certain groups to vote, such as college students and poor residents? Is there even a need for this type of bill?

Supporters believe that this bill will help protect the voting rights of people; it is a means to prevent voter fraud. People would be unable to cast votes for others.

Although the bill has passed, it will only take partial effect. Currently nine state senators are facing recall challenges. Depending on the outcome of the recall challenges, the bill may not have the support necessary to take full effect.

There are a number of other states that are considering making changes to voting requirements. It is not clear whether these states are concerned with voter fraud. But any type of fraud is taken seriously by state and federal authorities. It would make sense that the states intend to address the possibility of voter fraud by adding requirements.

Source: Reuters online, "Wisconsin governor signs controversial voter ID law," James Kelleher, 24 May 2011

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