Now let's couple this budget debate facade with one of the other things going on here - an attempt by the Republicans in the two houses to suppress the vote. These guys are prepared to pass legislation that would impose the strictest restrictions on voter rights in the nation. The proposed voter ID law would impact groups like elderly, students, and the urban poor (tend to vote Democrat). It would end same-day voter registration, an initiative that has increased voter participation.
Here is how one reporter, DeWayne Wickham in USA Today, describes this campaign to crush voter participation:
Walker's bill is a shoot-the-wounded assault on the Democratic Party's base, which when combined with a voter ID law that's also being pushed through Wisconsin's Republican-controlled Legislature, could put the Badger State firmly in GOP hands for decades.
The proposed ID law would restrict the right to vote to people with military IDs, driver's licenses and a state-issued ID card. Passports and photo ID cards issued to college students (even those from state universities) would not be acceptable.
College students and public unions are pillars of the Democratic base. Wisconsin's ID law would suppress voter participation among students. A 2005 University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute study found that 82% of 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds did not have a driver's license in the ZIP codes for neighborhoods near Marquette University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study also showed that statewide, the majority of college-age blacks and Hispanics lacked driver's licenses.
What Fitzgerald admits to Fox News ought to wake up anyone still sleeping in this state. The Koch brothers, the Karl Rove-funded gov and Fitzgerald brothers, are using anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional means to suppress voter participation at the same time as they attempt to gut the organized power of workers via their unions. It shouldn't matter whether or not you like public sector unions or what party you belong to; what ought to matter to all of us is this attempt to buy, manipulate, and undermine our democracy, even our elections, which ought to be held sacred, by Republicans in the state house and legislature beholden to the corporate interests that fund them, that make their political careers.
Wisconsin, do not let these people steal our democracy from us!
See you in Madison!