April 22, 2016
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Senator Ron Johnson
Representative Sean Duffy
Representative Glenn Grothman
Representative Ron Kind
Representative Gwen Moore
Representative Marc Pocan
Representative Reid Ribble
Representative Paul Ryan
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner
Dear Honorable Members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation:
As leaders of pro-democracy nonprofit groups largely from Wisconsin, we write today to urge you to seek the U.S. Justice Department’s intervention in regards to Wisconsin’s Voter ID law on the grounds that it intentionally discriminates against minorities.
As you know, this Wisconsin law is the subject of ongoing litigation. And new facts have arisen over the past couple of weeks that shed new – and disturbing – light on the intent of Wisconsin’s Voter ID law.
In particular, two new facts have surfaced:
1. Todd Albaugh, former chief of staff to former Republican Majority Leader Dale Schultz, went public with his eyewitness account of the sentiments in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when they were pushing through the Voter ID law. “A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters,” he wrote.
2. On the evening of the Wisconsin primary, April 5, Congressman Glenn Grothman told WTMJ4: “I think Hillary Clinton is about the weakest candidate the Democrats have ever put up. And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference as well.”
These two facts combined provide enough evidence for the Justice Department to join the litigation against Wisconsin’s Voter ID law.
It is now clear that the Voter ID law unconstitutionally violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which states:
“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
It is also now clear that Wisconsin’s Voter ID law is unconstitutional because it violates the 14 th and 15 th Amendments, under two U.S. Supreme Court precedents: Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Housing Development Corp (1977 ) and Hunter v. Underwood (1985).
It is disgusting that we now have this law on our books that is racist in its intent and racist in its effect—a law that hits at the most fundamental right that we have as Americans: the right to vote.
That’s why we ask that you do whatever you can to get the U.S. Justice Department to join the Voter ID case in Wisconsin and get this ugly, un-American law off our books.
Robert Brandon, Fair Elections Legal Network (Washington, DC)
Sara Finger, Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health
Astar Herndon, 9to5WI
Robert Kraig, Citizen Action of Wisconsin
Mike McCabe, Blue Jean Nation
Matt Rothschild, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign
Dana Schultz, Wisconsin Voices
Jorna Taylor, High Ground Institute