Bernie Sanders’ backers worry Scott Walker’s new voter ID law could give Hillary Clinton a boost in Wisconsin by keeping enthusiastic college students away from the polls. The law, which Walker signed in 2011 and is just now being fully implemented after the conclusion of a court battle, requires that voters show a state-issued photo ID at the polls—a hurdle that can be especially tough for college students who don’t have drivers’ licenses. Progressives have long held that the Republican legislature made these changes as part of an effort to depress the votes of African-Americans, college students, and other core Democratic constituencies. But progressives say that on Tuesday, one of the law’s top benefactors may be Hillary Clinton. That’s because of the unique challenges it makes for college kids, who vote overwhelmingly for Sanders. U.S. citizens who have lived in Wisconsin for at least 28 days are eligible to vote there—but the I.D. rules are especially tricky for college students who moved there from other states.
Sanders has repeatedly blasted the new rules from the stump—even saying Walker is engaged in voter suppression. “That is a cowardly, unAmerican act,” he told the Janesville crowd. And he added that low voter turnout would jeopardize his chances in the state. “We will win here tomorrow if there is a large voter turnout,” he said. “We will lose if there is a small voter turnout.”
Some of his backers say they are particularly concerned about how the law impacts college students. “That is a concern of mine, and it was a concern of the campaign,” said Marcos Arroyo, a college student who warmed up the Janesville crowd before Sanders spoke.