Each One Reach One
Voter ID Is Out (For Now) But Not Gone
Chris Stombaugh, President
Wisconsin Association for Justice
For much of Wisconsin, there was a collective sigh of relief when the U.S. Supreme Court finally stopped Wisconsin's poorly conceived and even more poorly implemented Voter ID law for the November election.
Regardless of your position of the merits on the controversial law, people of good will involved in the voting process had to admit that this was no way to run an election. Immediately after a Seventh Circuit upheld the law weeks before the general election, county clerks were overwhelmed with eleventh hour training. Legislators cynically refused to act on an emergency request for funding for an advertising campaign explaining the law. Thousands of absentee ballots had been cast without sending in the proper ID's. The Wisconsin Attorney General acknowledged in a briefing to the court that as many as 10% of eligible voters would be unable to prove their status to the satisfaction of the new law in time to participate in this election. Cooler heads finally prevailed when a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the implementation of the new law just in time.
One of the truisms in politics is that those in power usually get their way. That's what makes the U.S. Supreme Court's decision particularly sweet; reason and thought trumped the discredited fear of voter fraud. The Court didn't strike down the law but said there simply wasn't time to properly implement it. Final score; Fairness 1- Hype 0.
The Capital Times hit the nail on the head in a recent editorial. Even though Voter ID is gone for this election, the best thing voters can do to stop future threats to voting is by turning out en masse on November 4th.
Fewer people vote in non-presidential elections. In Wisconsin, close to a million more voters turned out in 2012 as compared to 2010. Both sides are counting heads and the only thing they agree on is that this vote will be very close. Turnout is the key to who will win this election. If this mid-term election performs like those in the past, only about 50 percent of eligible voters will show up - generally older more conservative voters. If voters show up in greater numbers - similar to a presidential year -more younger and minority voters will show up.
It has been said that "in a democracy, you get the government you deserve." If you believe in our representative form of government, voting is the key democratic ingredient. It ensures your voice and vote count. So, how do we get more people to the vote? When we were kids, our parents taught us about the buddy system. Two is better than one. Safer too. Each one can reach one.
Find a voting buddy. Maybe you know someone who can't drive to the polls. You could take them. Put up a notice at your office or place of worship to help get those who need help, to find it. Organize a car pool to the polls within your neighborhood. You win by participating.
More than at any other time in your life, this Election Day you can increase voter turnout by raising your hand and offering to help.
Each one can reach one. Find a voting buddy (or two) and Vote November 4th.