Wisconsin Republicans were “giddy” about a voter identification requirement enacted in 2011 that they saw as an opportunity to drive down Democratic turnout at the polls, a former chief of staff to a GOP state senator testified Monday in a federal trial targeting that law and others. The lawsuit targets more than a dozen changes to Wisconsin’s election law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker since 2011. Two liberal advocacy groups and affected voters argue the changes are a violation the federal Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment and the equal protection clause. Their attorney, Josh Kaul, said in opening statements that evidence will show the changes create a “torturous” process making it harder to vote for college students as well as blacks, Hispanics and other minorities who tend to support Democrats.
“Wisconsin is simply a better place than these laws suggest,” Kaul said. “They’re an embarrassment and a stain on the history of the state. Plain and simple.”
Todd Allbaugh, chief of staff at the time to then-state Sen. Dale Schultz, a Republican from Richland Center, testified about a closed-door meeting of GOP lawmakers discussing the photo ID proposal in 2011. Allbaugh said some were “giddy” and “politically frothing at the mouth” at the idea, while others sat “ashen faced.”
Allbaugh testified that then-state Sen. Glenn Grothman, now representing the 6th Congressional District in eastern Wisconsin, interrupted Schultz when he expressed reservations.
Full Article: Federal judge hears challenge to Wisconsin election laws.