Voter I.D. Bill Passes But Faces Likely Veto

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: The State Senate passed the photo I.D. bill Wednesday and it's now heading for the Governor's desk.

The bill passed on a bi-partisan 21-12 vote in the Senate, but not before some heated debate. "The photo I.D. bill before us will in effect discourage people from voting," says Sen. Judith Robson (D-Beloit).

"The bill before us today is a first step in trying to restore and increase the integrity of our election system," says Sen. Joseph Leibham (R-Sheboygan).

There were two distinct points of view in the State Senate on the merits and impact of the Photo I.D. Bill. Republican sponsors say requiring voters to show a state photo I.D. card at the polls will suppress voter fraud.

Democrats say the only thing that will be suppressed is voters.

Democrats say it's a hardship for many elderly and poor voters to get a state I.D. Republicans say its not too much to ask for the sake of clean elections.

Everybody has heard these arguments before. A fact that was clear during debate when most of the Republicans left the floor. Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) wasn't happy. "Maybe it's a foregone conclusion. Maybe I'm trying to improve a bill that people don't care about the amendments."

In some senses it was a foregone conclusion, given Governor Doyle's opinion of the bill. "I vetoed it before. I'll veto it again. I've said that many times. They can keep sending me bills I'll veto. I don't know where that gets us."

"If he vetoes photo I.D. this time we're going to come back with it again," said Assembly Speaker John Gard on Tuesday.

Gard said the Voter I.D. might come back as a constitutional amendment. "I wouldn't rule it out."

Constitutional amendments need to be passed twice by the Legislature and then approved by a statewide referendum. They do not need to be approved by the Governor.

Also Wednesday, the Senate passed the minimum wage pre–emption bill debated yesterday. That bill now heads to the Assembly.

Governor Doyle has already said he will only sign a version of that bill if the Republicans agree to raise the statewide minimum wage.

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