Scott Walker, the entire Wisconsin State Assembly, and half the State Senate are running for re-election this year so Republicans are frantically putting in place some extra-special voter suppression laws before November. The laws they've already passed just keep getting blocked by the courts so new laws just keep getting passed and signed.
So Scott Walker is today threatening to call a Special Legislative Session if the courts continue to block those laws that he needs. Particularly now with the damage done by the Rindfleisch email dump and the downgrading of his re-election chances (to "likely Republican) by the Cook Report. Walker wants a blow out to propel him into the Presidential race.
And that Special Session, if needed to ensure voter suppression, will be used to pass a new spate of bills to be eagerly signed by Governor Ultrasound to ensure that blow out victory he wants just as badly as his Republican colleague Chris Christie.
Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he wanted to call a special legislative session if courts this spring do not uphold the state's voter ID law, which has been blocked since soon after it was enacted.The State Supreme Court, with it's 4/3 RW majority, will likely support the GOP. The federal courts aren't likely to be so kind.
Shortly after taking over all of state government in 2011, Republicans passed a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. In 2012, two Dane County judges blocked the measure.
Those cases are now before the state Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. Separately, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman is considering two other cases that argue the voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act.
Adelman and the state Supreme Court may not rule until after the legislative session ends in early April. Any one ruling against the voter ID law would keep the measure from going into place.
So, they'll just keep passing more bills in the Special Session. The Republican strategy seems to be
If at first you don't succeed, try again. And then try again and again and again and again into infinity.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) criticized Walker's comments, saying the governor should be focused on the economy. Walker's stance "tells me he is not focused like a laser on anything but getting re-elected."But that's exactly what they're focused on; making sure Republicans keep complete control over Wisconsin. Tens of millions of dollars in spending, plenty of dark money groups to attack Democrats, gerrymandered districts, and voter suppression will, in their minds, guarantee success.
"The last thing he should be focused on right now is figuring out a way to keep people from voting," Erpenbach said.
And now they're working on a bill to limit early voting in cities (pssst, that's where most of those pesky Democratic voters live). It will limit early voting in cities to weekdays between 8 AM and 7 PM. No weekend early voting will be permitted.
Severely restricting early voting WILL lead to long lines at polling places just as the required "signature" of the voter in the polling book has already done. Add to that the display of a very specific type of ID (e.g. college student ID is no good, but concealed carry permit is acceptable ID) and you have even longer lines. Long lines discourage people from voting.
You can't stand in a long line if you have to leave work and go home to take care of your small children. Or if you need to get to your second job. And requiring people to stand in deliberately created long lines to participate in the most basic function of democracy, voting, spitting in the face of the very concept of democracy.
In other news, they're also ramming through another bill that will enable lobbyists to donate money earlier than ever.
The Senate also plans to approve a bill that would allow lobbyists to give campaign donations to lawmakers and other state candidates starting April 15 of election years — moved up from June 1. Supporters say the change is needed because partisan primaries have been moved up from September to August, lengthening the campaign season.(bolding is mine)
Senators have backed off from another change that would have allowed lobbyists to pass on campaign checks from others during the legislative session. They also have decided for the moment not to advance a bill that would have put in state law a long-standing rule that says when spending must be disclosed for political ads.
That's right. Fooling around with disclosure laws allowing funders of political ads to essentially not have to identify themselves as well as allowing lobbyists to donate to campaigns during a Legislative Session ended up being something they backed off on when those measures were brought to the attention of the public. They hoped that they could just ram them through with a plethora of other bills at the end with nobody noticing.
I guess the jokes making the rounds about lobbyists moving around the floor during votes stuffing hundred dollar bills into the pockets of Legislators made them a bit too uncomfortable to pass those measures during an election year. Expect to see them as soon as the election is over.
UPDATE: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a poll up asking whether Scott Walker should continue to push for Voter ID if the courts rule against it.
Currently 63% NO, 37% yes, but the RWNJs haven't mobilized on this yet to push the "yes vote" up.
As of 6:30 PM Central Time, it's still 63% NO. Good news.
As of 1:54 AM Central Time, the RWrs have flooded in, but still 52% NO.