State GOP is rigging the system

Cory Liebmann

Gov. Scott Walker and his rubber-stamp majority in the Legislature have repeatedly shown us their extreme and divisive agenda. That is why Republicans lost members in the state senate this summer, and that’s why Walker and others still face recalls.

So it should be no surprise that they would try every dirty trick in the book to prolong their abusive control of state government. Their shameless and shortsighted view of electoral politics knows no limits. It’s clear they will do anything to win elections, even if they must sacrifice the long-term integrity of our electoral system.

After taking control of state government, these radical Republicans passed one of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation. They did this even though there is no evidence showing Wisconsin has a voter fraud problem. The legislation was entirely about making it more difficult to vote, especially for the poor, for minorities and for students, all groups that vote in large numbers for Democrats. 

When they passed their voter ID legislation, Republicans said it included provisions to provide free photo IDs. However, internal correspondence was later obtained showing that the Walker administration was planning on making the process as difficult as possible. The Walker administration sent instructions to DMV workers saying that although voters could obtain IDs for free, they should still be charged unless they specifically requested them for free. In other words, if a voter doesn’t already know that photo IDs are provided for free, they will either be required to pay for it or leave without one.

While Republicans were facing historic recalls this summer, they were also putting the final touches on the redistricting of Wisconsin. They conspired on this almost entirely behind closed doors. Their redistricting plan is actually nothing more than a Republican protection plan, changing key districts to greatly favor their own electoral prospects. In many cases they have quite purposely redistricted some key Democrats out of their own districts and have made other districts much less competitive. 

Republicans also are threatening the bipartisan nature of the Government Accountability Board. They are changing GAB’s traditional rule-making authority.  A recent example includes tampering with GAB rules allowing colleges to use stickers on student IDs that would make them acceptable as voter IDs. They are also maneuvering to take rule-making power away from GAB regarding the administration of recall elections. In fact, they would bestow much of this new rule-making power on Walker. That could put Walker in control of the rules governing his own recall. 

Republicans are also maneuvering to take votes away from Barack Obama in Wisconsin by changing the way Electoral College delegates are chosen. Wisconsin’s popular vote has gone to the Democrat in every presidential election since the 1980s. Therefore, Wisconsin Republicans are circulating a bill in Madison that would award the state’s Electoral College votes by congressional district. In this way, Republicans could again lose the popular vote for president in Wisconsin but keep the president from getting all 10 of the state’s electoral votes. In a close election, this could sway the national results.

If this law passes, it would make Wisconsin one of only three states to split its electoral votes.

How do you hang on to power when you have spent your entire first year implementing an extreme agenda rather than focusing on creating jobs? Republican strategy is to do it by rigging our entire electoral system in every way possible and to ruin any sense of electoral integrity in the process.