Wisconsin voters who have reacted with alarm and outrage over the incompetence and probable fraud in the Milwaukee election. State legislators also want to ensure that this fiasco doesn’t repeat itself, and plan on introducing a new requirement for a state-issued photo ID to cast a ballot. Unfortunately for the real voters, the Democratic governor apparently wants to keep the system just the way it is:
The mounting evidence this week of irregularities in Milwaukee has caused concern around Wisconsin that will result in new pressure for reform, said Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), one of the authors of the photo ID bill, which is to be introduced Monday.
State residents may worry about their votes being, in effect, negated because of questions surrounding thousands of votes in Milwaukee, he said.
Lawmakers tried tightening the security on elections in 2003, but Governor Jim Doyle vetoed the bill. The Assembly did not have the votes to override the veto, and with Doyle openly opposing the bill in this session, no one knows of any new votes to override his expected encore with the veto pen.
The bill now has 30 co-sponsors and the momentum of a scandal to put pressure on Doyle, but one has to wonder why he would support voting reform. After all, Milwaukee is the Democratic power base for Wisconsin; Kerry topped Bush by over 120,000 votes in 277,000 cast, when he only won the state by 11,000. Restoring sanity to elections in Wisconsin would do nothing to change the political environment in Milwaukee, but it could have a devastating effect on Democrats running for state office — like Doyle’s.
It appears that these calculations weigh heavily on Doyle’s mind, instead of ensuring fair and competent elections for his constituents. Wisconsin residents should express their sentiments directly to Doyle and their Assembly representatives to make sure they understand that Doyle’s calculations represent bad math, bad policy, and bad politics.