MADISON, Wis. — The voter ID melodrama in Wisconsin has opened right on cue.
And the overblown “tragedy” takes place, as it always does, stage left.
Despite historically high voter turnout in Tuesday’s presidential primary election, liberals inside and outside Wisconsin are crying foul over the full-scale implementation of the state’s photo ID law.
The Huffington Post published a breathless piece headlined, “Dear Scott Walker: Wisconsin’s Photo ID Law Did not Work ‘Just Fine.’
Wisconsin’s Republican governor on Wednesday tweeted: “Huge turnout yesterday shows that photo Id works just fine. Easy to vote hard to cheat.”
HuffPost drove its sky-is-falling narrative with the story of a legally blind Milwaukee man who was “unable to obtain a piece of photo identification that would comply with the state’s strict new voter ID law to cast a regular ballot in Tuesday’s primary.”
Buried in the story of a 67-year-old man who did not bring the proper documents to obtain a voter identification card through the state Division of Motor Vehicles, is a critical fact:
The man, still got to cast a provisional ballot, just like everyone in Wisconsin who could not present an acceptable ID.
He “ultimately decided to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a provisional ballot; he’s hoping to get an ID to make his ballot count before the Friday afternoon deadline,” the overwrought story stated nine paragraphs in.
Tuesday wasn’t a perfect night for Wisconsin’s voter ID law. There were reports of long lines in Milwaukee and other parts of the state. But elections officials tell Wisconsin Watchdog the lines had more to do with last-minute registration on an election day that saw record 47 percent voter turnout statewide, 60 percent in Milwaukee County.
An election inspector in downtown Madison said heavy same-day registration is a fact of life, voter ID or not, in a university town. He said the lines were long, but efficient volunteers moved voters through quickly.
Some municipalities were caught off guard by higher-than-anticipated voter participation rates.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law is five years in the making. It has, and continues to be, the subject of left-wing driven court challenges. The U.S. Supreme Court last year refused to hear the case, allowing the law to finally stand. Seventeen states have similar laws on the books.
The state and local governments rolled out a massive public information campaign to let voters know what they needed to vote and how they could access a voter ID. For those who can’t afford it, the state issues a voter ID card free of charge.
“Here at the county level we made a tremendous effort” to alert the public, said Milwaukee County Clerk Joe Czarnezki. “We placed ads in all the community newspapers, on billboards, in bus shelters in the county reminding people of the photo ID law and the phone number of how to get an ID.”
Czarnezki said bus stops were particularly targeted because that’s where the highest concentrations of people without driver’s licenses are.
The county also launched targeted radio campaigns, reaching younger voters and the elderly where they listen. There were infomercials and ads in movie theaters. Basically everywhere a Milwaukee County voter would be.
“It is a concern so we tried to outreach to those people and make sure they are aware of the law,” the clerk said.
Milwaukee County joined local governments across the state Thursday morning in canvassing Tuesday’s votes, which included ballots cast for the statewide Supreme Court election and county and municipal elections.
Czarnezki said the county will have a better idea by the end of Friday about the impact of voter ID on ID-challenged populations. He worries some may not have the means or the time to come back with an acceptable form of ID or to go to the DMV to obtain one.
One crucial point is missing in the left’s melodrama. Some people who attempted to vote in Tuesday’s election may not have been eligible to vote. Voter fraud may be scoffed at by liberals, but the concerns are very real, according to election monitors.
“Wisconsin’s Voter ID law has been under attack since it was signed into law nearly five years ago,” Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said in a statement.
The case is a follow-up to the original Frank v. Walker, in which the 7th Circuit, in 2014, determined that Wisconsin’s voter ID laws did not violate either the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act. In reaching its decision, the court relied on Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, where the United States Supreme Court determined that Indiana’s voter ID law was constitutional. Indiana’s law is very similar to Wisconsin’s, and therefore the Seventh Circuit upheld Wisconsin’s law against the first challenge
“Court after court has decided the law is constitutional and I will continue to defend the law until all legal challenges are settled so Wisconsinites can have confidence their vote is not being diluted or diminished by illegal and fraudulent votes,’ Schimel said.