“Jim Crow move over, the Wisconsin Republicans have taken your place,” said state Sen. Bob Jauch, a Democrat from Poplar, Wis., comparing his state’s new voter ID law to segregationist policies.

Under the new law, voters will for the first time be required to show photo identification this summer in recall elections seeking to unseat several Republican legislators who pushed through Gov. Scott Walker’s highly unpopular anti-union bill. Voters will be asked to show drivers’ licenses, state IDs, passports, military IDs, naturalization papers or tribal IDs. College IDs will not be accepted.

“Hundreds of thousands of people will stay home because of this legislation,” said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Milwaukee. “By the time Republican senators are done it will be easier to carry a concealed weapon than it will be to vote.”

To make matters even worse, the Republican-run state election board is in charge of running a public education campaign about the new law and the Republican-run legislature has not allocated any funds for the campaign. Republicans are expected next to oppose even the issuing of free state ID cards.

Scarier still, is that Wisconsin-style Jim Crow voter ID laws are in the works now in at least 22 states.

In the days of Jim Crow and poll taxes the segregationists, like the Republicans today, also argued that what they were doing was preserving the “integrity” of the vote and protecting us from “fraud.”

Polls show that large majorities disapprove of the GOP’s vision for America. People want to preserve Social Security and Medicare, they want the rich to pay a fair share of the taxes, they want to end subsidies to big oil companies, they want the right to form unions at their workplaces and they generally approve of the job being done by the nation’s first African American president. The response from the GOP is to cut millions of those Americans – Africans Americans, seniors, immigrants, youth and students – off the voting rolls under the guise of protecting us from “voter fraud.”

It is plain now for all the world to see. Democracy goes out the window when Republicans are put in control of a state’s legislature and governorship. International UN observers, if they were allowed to monitor elections in the U.S., would have an eyeful.

These voter suppression laws make it clearer than ever what the real fraud is here: Republican lawmakers loyal to their corporate masters, pontificating about democracy while wrecking it. They have shown clearly that they will not act in the interest of the people and that they cannot be trusted to take care of anything as sacred as our democratic rights and freedoms.


PW Editorial Board
PW Editorial Board

People’s World editorial board: Editor-in-Chief John Wojcik,  Managing Editor C.J. Atkins, Copy Editor Eric A. Gordon, Washington D.C. Bureau Chief Mark Gruenberg, Social Media Editor Chauncey K. Robinson, Senior Editor Roberta Wood, Senior Editor Joe Sims