State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that last year, Governor Doyle’s administration “quietly dropped” the Accountability, Consolidation and Efficiency, or ACE initiative. The administration promoted ACE, promising a savings to the state of $200 million over four years by determining more effective ways to make state purchases.
My colleague, state Senator Rob Cowles of Green Bay has asked for an audit of ACE. Cowles is correct that during a time of a $650 million dollar revenue shortfall, the state must take every step it can to ensure funding is being spent appropriately and effectively.
Read the Wisconsin State Journal article.
“What better way to obtain the birth dates of all voters than a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID?”
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving Indiana’s strict photo ID law.
The court's swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, in questioning the lawyer for the state Democratic Party and ACLU asked, "You want us to invalidate a statute on the ground that it's a minor inconvenience to a small percentage of voters?"
Now the Wall Street Journal in an opinion piece asks the following:
“How can anyone object to asking for ID?”
The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the photo Id law in Indiana, the strictest photo ID requirement in the nation.
John Fund writes in the Wall Street Journal that without photo ID, voter fraud is easy.
“Indiana officials make the obvious point that, without a photo ID requirement, in-person fraud is "nearly impossible to detect or investigate." A grand jury report prepared by then-Brooklyn District Attorney Elizabeth Holtzman in the 1980s revealed how difficult it is to catch perpetrators. It detailed a massive, 14-year conspiracy in which crews of individuals were recruited to go to polling places and vote in the names of fraudulently registered voters, dead voters, and voters who had moved. "The ease and boldness with which these fraudulent schemes were carried out shows the vulnerability of our entire electoral process to unscrupulous and fraudulent misrepresentation," the report concluded. No indictments were issued thanks to the statute of limitations, and because of grants of immunity in return for testimony.
Even modest in-person voter fraud creates trouble in close races. In Washington state's disputed 2004 governor's race, which was won by 129 votes, the election superintendent in Seattle testified in state court that ineligible felons had voted and votes had been cast in the name of the dead. In Milwaukee, Wis., investigators found that, in the state's close 2004 presidential election, more than 200 felons voted illegally and more than 100 people voted twice. In Florida, where the entire 2000 presidential election was decided by 547 votes, almost 65,000 dead people are still listed on the voter rolls--an engraved invitation to fraud. A New York Daily News investigation in 2006 found that between 400 and 1,000 voters registered in Florida and New York City had voted twice in at least one recent election.”
Last November, I blogged about the findings by the Legislative Audit Bureau that sent a clear message that Wisconsin needs to enact a photo ID requirement to vote.
The audit I blogged about is mentioned in a USA TODAY article about problems with voting systems around the country. USA TODAY reports that under the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), states are required to have statewide voter databases completed by January 1, 2006. Nine states missed the deadline, including Wisconsin. The recent audit in Wisconsin, as USA TODAY points out, has numerous flaws.
To say the least, it is very disheartening that five years after passage of HAVA and with the Iowa caucuses unfolding, and Wisconsin’s Presidential primary right around the corner, our nation’s voting system is in disarray.
Here’s the USA TODAY article.
An amendment to Senate Bill 86 provides that if an Audit Bureau employee investigates a report, the employee may consult with a state agency. The amendment also provides that instead of requiring a bureau employee to investigate a report, the bureau may refer a report to a state agency for investigation. In the case of the Audit Bureau referring a report to a state agency for investigation, the agency must conduct the investigation and deliver the results of the process to the Audit Bureau in a timely manner.
I am a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 86 that would allow citizens to alert the state to improprieties in state government and help the state operate more efficiently.
The wake-up call comes in an audit prepared by the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) that provides a clear message: approve photo ID now.
Several recommendations were made by the LAB in their audit on compliance with election laws. The very first recommendation is the most significant:
“The Elections Board and, after it is replaced, the Government Accountability Board request that municipal clerks obtain birth dates from voters during future elections and consider ways to more easily facilitate the collection of this information.”
What better way to obtain the birth dates of all voters than from a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID?
The Legislature approved photo ID legislation on three occasions, only to see Governor Doyle veto it all three times. If Governor Doyle had not vetoed photo ID, Wisconsin would be able to avoid many voter irregularities.
The audit found that the statewide voter registration system implemented at a cost of over $22 million failed to properly verify voting eligibility, thus opening the door to fraud. The state Elections Board attempted to match data in the system with data compiled by the departments of Corrections, Health and Family Services, and Transportation in order to pinpoint individuals ineligible to vote.
But as the LAB pointed out, “Electronic matching failed for the November 2006 general election and the spring 2007 election. Elections Board officials now believe that the data matching will not work during Wisconsin’s presidential primary in February 2008.”
This finding by the Audit Bureau places the entire credibility of Wisconsin’s critically important February 2008 Presidential primary in doubt. Our faith in our election system could be restored with a photo ID requirement.
An investigation of the November, 2004 election in the city of Milwaukee by U.S. Attorney Steve Biskupic and then-Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann found the following:
- In more than 100 cases, people voted twice, used phony names or addresses, or used the names of dead people.
- More than 200 felons voted illegally.
- The number of votes counted exceeds the number of votes recorded by more than 4,600.
Once again, I commend the LAB for another outstanding, thorough review of an issue that deserves greater scrutiny and attention.
Now it’s time for the Legislature to move quickly to adopt photo ID before the important February 2008 Wisconsin Presidential primary. Republicans who’ve supported photo ID in the past are ready to work to get this critical measure approved. The question is, what about Governor Doyle and legislative Democrats? If they want to restore Wisconsin’s reputation of clean, honest elections, they’ll work with Republicans to get the job done.