Two separate comments about the state’s now fully operational voter ID law this week set off a tempest about why Republicans passed the law in the first place. On election night, U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman told a Milwaukee TV reporter that Republican presidential nominee has a chance of winning Wisconsin this year partly because “photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference.” Former GOP Senate aide Todd Allbaugh says he left the Republican Party because of its position on voter ID. Then on Wednesday, Todd Allbaugh, a former aide to Sen. Dale Schultz and U.S. Rep. Scott Klug, wrote on Facebook that the voter ID law was “the last straw” for why he left the Republican Party.
Allbaugh described being in a closed Senate Republican Caucus during the voter ID debate and how “a handful of GOP senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.” Grothman’s office and Allbaugh didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats pounced on the statements as evidence that Republicans passed voter ID to game the system. State party chairwoman Martha Laning said reports of long lines, confusion and legal voters being turned away Tuesday were evidence that the tactics were working.
“(Grothman) might as well say Republicans are trying to rig elections,” Laning said. “Republicans are using every tool, every legal loophole and every scare tactic they can think of.”