GOP strikes back on tech-school voter ID
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican legislators ordered state election officials Tuesday to make their policy allowing technical college students to use their school IDs at the polls into a formal rule, a move that would effectively allow Gov. Scott Walker to block it.
The Government Accountability Board last week adopted an interpretation of the state’s new voter identification law that concluded technical college IDs qualify on election day just like any other four-year university ID.
The interpretation angered Republicans on the Legislature’s rules committee. They said the voter ID law’s authors never intended to include technical college IDs. Tech school students generally live in the communities where they attend school and have alternate state identification they can use to vote, they said.
The committee voted 6-4 to order the board to put all the policy in the form of administrative rules. The order would allow Walker to block the regulations. Republicans adopted a law earlier this year that requires the governor to either approve or reject all state agency rule proposals.
The order comes as Republicans fight for every advantage they can as a recall attempt against Walker looms. Democrats and their allies are outraged over Walker’s contentious law stripping nearly all public workers of almost all their union rights.
Democrats on the committee accused Republicans of trying to disenfranchise technical college students and micromanaging elections.
“Why do you want to treat tech college students as second-class citizens?” Rep. Gary Hebl, D-Sun Prairie, said.
Republicans countered they’re not trying to prevent anyone from voting. The voter ID law’s main sponsor, Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, who sits on the rules committee, said he doesn’t “necessarily” believe the GAB’s policy is wrong, but that it’s so substantial that it rises to the formal rule level.
“The more important something is, the more it should be put in rules,” Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, said.
Almost 400,000 students, or 10 percent of the state’s voting age population, are enrolled at a state technical college.
Walker’s spokesman didn’t immediately return a message.