Before the Recalls, Wisconsin Gets Voter ID Law

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 25 2011 12:42 PM

Before the Recalls, Wisconsin Gets Voter ID Law

If you cast your thoughts all the way back to February, to the impasse over the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, you'll remember that Democrats actually stopped two Republican priorities by fleeing the state. The other priority was a voter ID law, which was stuck in limbo because, to pass constitutional muster, it provided funding for free IDs for anyone who couldn't afford them.

The Democrats have long since returned. Voter ID is law , after passing the Senate with all but one Republican voting "aye."

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The new law will require voters to show a drivers license, state identification, passports or college student ID's with signature and expiration date at polling places.

One reason Wisconsin is usually bankable for Democrats -- they have not lost a presidential race there since 1984 -- is that voters are allowed to show up on election day with little proof of who they are, get registered, and vote. That's tougher now. Democratic leader Peter Barca grouses:

Not only does waste millions of taxpayer dollars at a time we need to be frugal, but it more importantly does nothing to create jobs or help middle-class families that are struggling in our state.

How is it economically stimulative? If electing more Republicans is good for the economy, it is.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.