Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker signed a bill that will require voters to produce a photo identification card (Wisconsin issued driver’s license, passport, military ID, or student ID with certain details) at the polls. Poll workers will begin to ask voters for identification on January 1, 2012, but it will not be required by law until the spring elections of 2012.
The primary rationale for the law, according to Republican proponents, is to combat voter fraud. Democrats, however, feel that the law is a political move to limit the vote of their biggest constituents.
According to the National Conference on State Legislature, 11 states have similar laws currently in effect or have passed laws that will take effect in the next couple of years. Out of those 11 states, all but one have Republican governors. Eighteen other states have general identification laws (no photo required), half of which have Democratic governors and half of which are Republican controlled.
Wisconsin Democrats look to the recent statistics on voter fraud and question the rationale for heavy photo identification policies. According Forbes, the Wisconsin Department of Justice conducted a study of the 2008 election,which only revealed 20 instances of fraudulent activity out of millions of voters. Eleven of those instances were ex-convicts that were ineligible to vote.
Democrats claim that Republicans are using fraud as a cover for a political ploy to discourage mainly Democratic voters from turning out at the polls.