Republican State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk on Wednesday called on the Legislature to penalize Dane County for funding a UW-Madison study on the effects of the state’s voter ID law. Dane County spent $55,000 on the study by UW-Madison political science professor Ken Mayer. It concluded nearly 17,000 registered voters in Dane and Milwaukee counties may have been deterred from voting in November because of the controversial law. In a statement, Adamczyk called the taxpayer expenditure “a complete waste of money” partly because nearly three in four of those surveyed lived in Milwaukee County. He called for cutting $55,000 in shared revenue Dane County receives from the state in the next budget. The county receives about $3.9 million in shared revenue.
“Obviously, Dane County does not need at least $55,000 if it can be wasted on a survey of 293 respondents,” Adamczyk said. “With such a low response rate, that means $187 was spent for each returned survey.”
Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, who opposes the law, has said the study was necessary because until now the debate has been lacking scientific data on the impact of the law. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Adamczyk’s statement.
Conservative groups, which have championed the voter ID law as a safeguard of the voting process, have criticized the study’s sample size and said the conclusions are flawed because of potential sampling bias of the respondents. They also noted the study found most respondents who said they didn’t vote because of the voter ID law also reported possessing a valid ID.