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Seniors Mixed on Voter ID Bill

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Requiring voters to present a photo ID sounds simple, but opponents say it could impact senior citizens, those without a driver's license or unable to get a photo ID easily.

A voter ID bill is working its way through the state legislature.

Wednesday is euchre day at the Middleton Senior Center. Every week a group of seniors elects to play cards. And, they deal with some cheats when it comes to pinochle.

Frank Borucki says, "[you] have to have long sleeves, keep score and mark cards."

But like others, they do not tolerate cons when it comes to voting.

"There's always potential for any kind of fraud," Borucki says.

Some lawmakers say legislation can prevent it.

Rep. Joel Kleefisch says, "we can eliminate clerical errors and we can also help combat any potential fraud there." By requiring voters to bring a photo ID to the polls.

"We're gonna make it very simple for anybody who does not have a photo ID to get one," Kleefisch says.

The bill comes after reports from Milwaukee of voting irregularities in the presidential election. But critics, like Democratic Assemblyman Joe Parisi, say the legislation makes voting tougher, not necessarily more accurate.

He says "it's basically a solution in search of a problem."

Because, Parisi says, it affects people like the homeless and seniors, groups unable to get an ID easily or less likely to carry one.

"This bill removes vouching so it makes difficult for a lot of people to vote," Parisi says.

He says especially when people move. "Say, you've just moved enrolled in school ... go to vote, haven't updated address ... gonna get turned away."

But supporters dismiss that point, saying they want to verify the person. They say people can verify their address by also bringing something like a utility bill.

Back in Middleton, these seniors all have photo IDs, and believe most others do. Frank Borucki is a former poll worker.

"Yes, you should show it if you're not registered," Borucki says.

But they see no need to show their cards when voting.

" I don't think it's necessary, who's going to steal my stuff," Carol Hanko adds.

Some seniors at the center said they support the idea. Others believe it would make the process more difficult for those who are homebound. This bill could hit the assembly floor the end of this month.

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