This story in Businessweek is the perfect companion piece:
Gov. Scott Walker's administration is working on finalizing a plan to close as many as 10 offices where people can obtain driver's licenses in order to expand hours elsewhere and come into compliance with new requirements that voters show photo IDs at the polls.
Some legislators think there's some politics at play:
One Democratic lawmaker said Friday it appeared the decisions were based on politics, with the department targeting offices for closure in Democratic areas and expanding hours for those in Republican districts.
The recently enacted state budget requires that DMV driver license and ID card services be offered in all 72 counties at least 20 hours a week. Currently, only 30 counties have offices that meet that 20-hour requirement.
The DMV claims that closing these offices will ensure more office hours in the districts where the offices are kept open.
Starting next year, voters must present a valid driver's license or other acceptable photo identification in order to vote. Critics of that new requirement have said it would be unconstitutional if courts determined voters couldn't easily access DMV centers where they can obtain the ID cards required in order to vote.
From the Chippewa Herald:
Wisconsin’s bill, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, would cost more than $5.7 million to implement. The measure would require voters to use a driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport, naturalization papers or tribal ID at the polls. Student IDs would be allowed, but would have to include a current address, birthdate, signature and expiration date. Currently no college or university ID used in the state, including UW-Madison, meets those standards.
Wisconsin is spending millions to implement a voter ID, to address non-existant voter fraud, during a time where budgets are cut, and teachers are being fired. It's interesting that the bill specifies that Student ID's would be allowed, but none of the colleges have student ID's that meet the standards. That, coupled with DMV office closings could make a cynical person think that Governor Walker wants to disenfranchise certain voter groups - like students, seniors, the disabled, homeless, and those who live in traditionally Democratic districts.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org