Here are the details: Wisconsin Republicans have stated that official voter identification cards prevent voter fraud. To avoid being framed as a hindrance to voters, the voters IDs are free — if you know to ask for the free IDs. If you do not know to ask for them, it will set you back $28, on top of that, according to a memo, republicans do not want to publicize that the free voter IDs are available.
The mastermind behind the plot to hide the free version of the voter IDs is Steve Krieser, a former Republican state Senate aide.
According to reports, Krieser, now the executive assistant of the Department of Transportation, told staffers that they “should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it.”
The hassle of applying for a voter ID, and the additional $28 fee, just may be enough to keep disenfranchised Wisconsin residents away from the polls.
The likelihood those voters IDs are a deterrent for voter participation among the poor was the focus of a study conducted by Matt A. Barreto, (University of Washington); Stephen A. Nuño, (Northern Arizona University); and Gabriel R. Sanchez, (University of New Mexico).
In their study, the “Disproportionate Impact of Voter-ID Requirements on the Electorate — New Evidence from Indiana,” the research team found “strong and statistical differences with respect to access to valid photo identification that significantly reduces the opportunity to vote for minority, low-income, less-educated, and the youngest and oldest residents of Indiana, who also tend to be correlated with Democratic partisanship.”
Obtaining a voter ID requires a valid state ID or driver’s license, and that entails a stop by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and a $28 fee, if you don’t know that the IDs are free.
Chris Larsen, a Wisconsin DMV employee, sent an e-mail to coworkers to tell everyone to request the free voter IDs:
“Do you know someone who votes that does not have a state ID that meets the requirements to vote? Tell them they can go to the DMV/DOT and get a free ID card. However they must ask for the free ID. A memo was sent out by the [third] in command of the DMV/DOT. The memo specifically told the employees at the DMV/DOT not to inform individuals that the ID’s are free. So if the individuals seeking to get the free ID do not ask for a free ID, they will have to pay for it!!
“Just wanted everyone to be informed!! REMEMBER TO TELL ANYONE YOU KNOW!! ANYONE!! EVEN IF THEY DON’T NEED THE FREE ID, THEY MAY KNOW SOMEONE THAT DOES!! SO TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!”
Larsen was later fired for abuse of e-mail.