The Associated Press is generally a mouthpiece for Democratic Party talking points. That is the case as to voter ID, as this rather pathetic piece shows: “In Wisconsin, ID law proved insurmountable for many voters.”
State Sen. Mary Lazich was adamant: The bill Republicans were about to push through the Wisconsin state Senate, requiring that voters present identification at the polls, would do no harm.
“Not a single voter in this state will be disenfranchised by the ID law,” Lazich promised.
Five years later, in the first presidential election held under the new law, Gladys Harris proved her wrong.
So the AP makes it clear from the beginning that its article is intended as a refutation of Republican claims, and a defense of the Democrats’ position on voter ID. Let’s see how well the Associated Press makes the Democratic Party’s case.
By one estimate, 300,000 eligible voters in the state lacked valid photo IDs heading into the election; it is unknown how many people did not vote because they didn’t have proper identification.
But wait! The AP’s headline says that Wisconsin’s voter ID law “proved insurmountable for many voters.” The obvious question is: how many? The reporter now tells us that the number of people who didn’t vote because they lacked proper ID is “unknown.” The article identifies exactly four.
Next, one wonders about the source of the estimate that 300,000 eligible voters didn’t have legal ID “heading into the election.” It apparently comes from the far-left web site Think Progress, which in turn evidently derived the figure from competing expert witness affidavits that were filed in a lawsuit that challenged the voter ID law.
Those affidavits, one of which you can read here, were filed in early 2012. So Wisconsin voters who didn’t have any of the seven forms of identification permitted by the statute (including a free photo ID issued by the state, of course) had four and a half years to obtain one. The AP’s statement that 300,000 legal voters (one of the experts gave a much lower number) didn’t have proper identification “heading into the election” is deliberately misleading.
Moreover, the federal courts ultimately upheld the Wisconsin law, rejecting the claims that were made by its critics–a fact that the AP never mentions.
The Wisconsin law provides that if a would-be voter doesn’t have any of the seven forms of identification permitted by the law, he or she can cast a provisional ballot and return with proper ID within a few days, in which case the vote counts. This fact is inconvenient for the Democrats and the Associated Press, but the AP does its best with the four (4) instances it has uncovered.
* The first would-be voter allegedly lost her driver’s license shortly before the election. It sounds like she didn’t cast a provisional ballot. If she did, the AP gives no explanation for why she failed to return to the polling place to validate her ballot.
* The second presented a driver’s license from another state, and was too busy to return to the polls to validate a provisional ballot.
* The third, who was dying of cancer, had an expired driver’s license. She was told during the early voting period that she should get a new license, but the DMV station was 15 miles away, so she didn’t do it.
* The fourth had a student ID that didn’t meet the Wisconsin law’s standards. She went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a valid ID, but “her work schedule at a Starbucks prevented her from going to the county clerk’s office with the ID so her vote would count.”
This is not exactly an impressive catalog of voter suppression.
If voter fraud were not a risk, no voter security measures would be necessary. The AP dutifully spouts the Democratic Party line on voter fraud:
Supporters of voter ID laws say that prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses reduces the possibility of voter fraud and individuals filling out multiple ballots. Research has shown that such voter fraud can happen, but it’s very rare.
Really? Let’s see that “research”! Maybe it, too, comes from “Think Progress.”
Is voter fraud rarer than the four dubious instances cited in this AP article? Here in Minnesota, hundreds or thousands of instances of voter fraud have been documented, where the name, date and polling place of the person committing fraud has been pinpointed. And that is a drop in the bucket compared with the number who commit fraud but are not caught. Is there any reason to believe that Wisconsin was different before it adopted better voter security procedures?
The AP tries to suggest the President Trump carried Wisconsin because legitimate voters were foiled by the state’s voter ID law:
Overall, nearly 3 million people in Wisconsin voted last November, about 91,000 fewer than in 2012. Milwaukee, a power center for Democrats, reported that 41,000 fewer people voted there than in 2012.
So overall turnout in Wisconsin was flat, as it was in a number of states. And votes cast in many “power center(s) for Democrats” across the U.S. were down, because Hillary Clinton was an awful candidate. The AP never considers the possibility that Wisconsin’s voter ID law may have deterred some fraudulent ballots from being cast, thereby lowering vote totals.
The remarkable thing about the Democrats’ attack on Wisconsin’s voter ID law is how feeble it is. The Associated Press gives us absolutely no reason to doubt that the courts were correct in upholding the statute.