On Wednesday, The Nation published an exclusive story showing how the DMV in Wisconsin was systematically failing to provide the voter IDs required to cast a ballot this election. We told the story of two African-American voters, Zack Moore and Claudell Boyd, who brought multiple documents with them to the DMV confirming their identities but were still turned away without the necessary voter ID. Recordings from the DMV provided to The Nation detailed how Moore and Boyd were not offered certificates for voting within six business days, as required by Wisconsin law.
Today federal district court Judge James Peterson ordered the state to investigate the DMV and the voter-ID process. “Recent news stories in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Nation have reported that DMV personnel have provided incorrect information to persons who have applied for Wisconsin IDs for voting,” Peterson wrote. “These reports, if true, demonstrate that the state is not in compliance with this court’s injunction order, which requires the state to ‘[p]romptly issue a credential valid as a voting ID to any person who enters the IDPP or who has a petition pending.’”
He ordered the state to report back to the court by October 7. “The report should explain the scope of the investigation, its results, and any corrective action to be taken,” Peterson wrote.
This is significant because 300,000 registered voters do not have a valid voter ID, 9 percent of the electorate, and many are still struggling to obtain one. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld Wisconsin’s voter-ID law based on the premise that the state would make IDs accessible to every eligible voter—which it is clearly not doing.
Wisconsin is not the first state to disregard a court order to make it easier to vote. Texas issued misleading information after the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ordered the state to soften its voter-ID law and counties in North Carolina cut early voting after the Fourth Circuit restored early voting days. Republicans like Scott Walker seem to believe that suppressing the vote is the only way they can win.