After state Attorney General (and chair of John McCain's Wisconsin campaign in 2008) J.B. van Hollen searched tirelessly for examples of the voter fraud his fellow Republicans keep assuring us is running rampant in Wisconsin, he managed to unearth scores of cases. Well, not scores, exactly. More like exactly one score.
From Rick Ungar's The Policy Page for Forbes.com:
"A study of the 2008 election conducted by the Wisconsin Justice Department has turned up just two instances of people 'double' voting, six people who engaged in voter registration shenanigans and 11 ex-cons who violated the prohibition on felons voting.
"In fact, there has been a sum total of 20 people charged with some form of voter fraud out of the millions of Wisconsin residents who voted in the 2008 election. And over half of them are already on voter denial lists as they are convicted felons."
Since the 2010 election produced a Republican monopoly on power in all branches of state government, Republicans had no problem cranking out a Voter ID bill this year requiring voters to produce a photo ID: a driver's license, a passport, a military ID, a tribal identification or a student ID, provided that the student ID shows an expiration date -- meaning that the University of Wisconsin (for one large example) would have to redo all their student IDs, at a cost of $1.1 million. And if Grandma doesn't have any of the above, she can schlep on down to the Department of Motor Vehicles to spend the day getting a $28 voter ID card.
And you thought that Poll Taxes were a thing of the past.
As Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) pointed out,
"Republicans know that their days of complete control over Wisconsin’s government are numbered, so they are rushing frantically to game the system to keep power,” Roys said. “They know that according to a 2005 study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, about 180,000 Wisconsinites (23 percent) aged 65 and older do not have a state-issued ID, and about half of African-Americans and Latinos/Latinas lack a valid driver’s license – compared with 17 percent of white Wisconsinites."
The voter suppression law was originally set to go into effect in time for the 2012 elections, but with six Republican state senators threatened with recall elections this summer, the timetable was moved up to Right Away. Meanwhile, since those same Republicans were busy trying to jam the Republican agenda down our throats, they couldn't devote their full attention to defending themselves in the recall elections.
So the party recruited Republican volunteers to run against the Democratic challengers in Democratic primaries.
"Stephan Thompson, executive director of the state party, issued a statement justifying the practice because Republican senators have been too busy in Madison to prepare for the recall elections. 'The Republican Party of Wisconsin has advocated that protest candidates run in Democratic primaries to ensure that Republican legislators have ample time to communicate with voters throughout their districts after the state budget is approved.'"
Naturally, since those Democratic primaries will be the only races on the July 12 ballot, nobody seriously expects that only Democratic voters will be deciding who the Democratic nominees will be. And since the Republican party has disenfranchised so many members of the Democratic base, it shouldn't require quite as many Republican crossover voters to make the recall elections moot before they happen.
If only there were some Republican party primary which Democrats could cross over and mess up next year...