Monday, May 2, 2016

Rep. Bob Gannon is wrong -- voter ID education is not only needed, but mandated

Gannon refuses to acknowledge the need for voter ID education, cites irrelevant statistics

Rep. Bob Gannon (R-Slinger) says there are no problems with understanding voter ID in Wisconsin. And if he says so, then it must be true.

But Gannon says if there’s anyone to blame for voter ID miseducation, it’s those dang college students (PDF):
There are no problems with voting other than the students at the University of Wisconsin; some of whom also disrupted the assembly chamber on Election Day to protest the new voter ID rules.
Bitter much, Bob?

To cite that he KNOWS there isn’t a problem with voting in the state, Gannon states the number of votes cast in this past spring election.
There are more people voting in these elections than ever before. In the 2012 Presidential primary, when there was no ID law in effect, there were 1,088,102 votes in Wisconsin. This year there were 2,113,544 votes in the Presidential primary in Wisconsin.
Except that’s not really how it works at all. A higher number of votes doesn’t mean that more people understand voting laws. It just means more people voted. There are myriad reasons why that may be.

For instance, in 2012 Barack Obama was the presumed nominee for the Democratic Party’s presidential ticket, and Mitt Romney had won more than 56 percent of the pledged delegates up to that point (to compare, Trump had only won about 45 percent up to Wisconsin this year). In short, there wasn’t as much enthusiasm in Wisconsin in 2012 as there was in 2016.

Instead of comparing vote totals, Gannon should look to voter attitudes on the subject of voter ID. In a Marquette Law School poll conducted this year (PDF), for example, about one-in-six voters didn’t understand that you needed an adequate ID to vote at all. With nearly 3.4 million voters registered to vote in Wisconsin, that amounts to around 542,000 registered voters that are under-educated on the changes.

But hey, that’s no big deal according to Gannon. And besides, educating voters just costs too much money:
The legislature should spend money as judiciously as possible and only when absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately for Gannon, it IS necessary to spend money on voter education -- if not for the sheer numbers outlined above, then because the very voter ID bill that he supported and Gov. Scott Walker signed into law mandates as much (PDF).
Act 23 requires that the Government Accountability Board (GAB) conduct a public information campaign in conjunction with the first regularly scheduled primary and election at which the voter identification requirements of the Act initially apply for the purpose of informing prospective voters of the new voter identification requirements. The Act also requires GAB to engage in outreach to identify and contact groups of electors who may need assistance in obtaining or renewing a document that constitutes proof of identification for voting and provide assistance in obtaining or renewing that document
So, as much as Bob Gannon would like to pretend that funding a voter ID education campaign not a necessary expenditure, it is…because the law says it is.

You may also be interested in reading:
Bob Gannon "flips the bird," remains ignorant on gun stats in Wisconsin

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