This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
Opinion by Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs: printed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , Feb. 12, 2011 (full article available on-line)
Last week, I voted with seven of my Common Council colleagues to oppose Wisconsin Senate Bill 6, also referred to as the "Voter ID Bill."
Very simply, the bill would shift Wisconsin from one of the top voter participation states in the United States to one of just 10 states requiring voters to show a photo ID. Wisconsin - home to one of the nation's most engaged, enthusiastic and active electorates - would have the most restrictive voter ID law in the country because only three forms of identification would be accepted: a Wisconsin DMV-issued driver's license or ID card, or a military ID.
I believe SB 6 would violate the 15th Amendment (and open the state up to lawsuits and legal challenges), but I have several other serious concerns with it as well:
Although statewide about 80% of residents of voting age have a valid driver's license, about 30% of all Milwaukee County voting-age adults do not have a valid driver's license.
The bill would impose a financial barrier for many residents who would need to pay at least $20 to get a copy of their birth certificate in order to obtain a driver's license or state ID.
Low-income and hourly-wage workers cannot afford to take time off to obtain an ID at a DMV office.
The bill would have a clear negative impact on Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee. Our large numbers of students, people without driver's licenses, seniors and low-income adults will be negatively affected by the law, essentially disenfranchising thousands of voters, suppressing the vote and lessening the overall impact and power of our vote.
A Milwaukee Alderwoman vs. the words of the 15th Amendment
US Constitution, Amendment 15
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
We the People:
It is risky to raise false racism allegations, lest some will become desensitized to legitimate claims. Alderwoman Coggs sees different words than I in the 15th amendment. Senate Bill 6 applies to people of all races; and the taxpayers will pay for IDs for the needy.