The nation is paying close attention to the state of Wisconsin this summer because of a series of special elections that offer a preview of 2012 in a key swing state. But voting rights advocates are also keeping a close eye for early indications of how voter suppression can play out--especially with new strict photo-ID laws across the country.
AlterNet's Adele Stan yesterday published a story on the shady activities of Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party friendly group founded by billionaire David Koch, the conservative political activist and vice president of the nation's second-largest privately held company. AlterNet's Adele Stan reports on ballot application flyers being sent to Democrats on behalf of American's for Prosperity:
"Important Senate Recall Election in your area soon!" announces the ballot application flyer, which was sent to voters in at least two districts where recall votes are taking place on Aug. 9. Applicants are then instructed that their absentee ballots must be received by the city clerk by August 13. The address for the "Absentee Ballot Application Processing Center" on the return envelope is a Madison post office box, 1327, that is the mailing address for Wisconsin Family Action, a religious-right group that is virulently anti-gay, and was a vocal supporter of Wisconsin's 2006 anti-same-sex-marriage ballot measure, which passed into law.
AlterNet also reports millions of dollars in ad buys are being placed by third-party groups from within and outside the state of Wisconsin.
Last week Colorlines.com's Jamilah King looked at Wisconsin's restrictive photo ID law, which is similar to those passed in six other states.
Voting rights watchdogs say this new slate of laws and bills are of a different scale than those seen in previous years and warn that they will disenfranchise young voters and those of color. Millions of eligible voters don't have the state-issued photo IDs the bills would require, and opponents of the laws say that the costs of obtaining such IDs could be an unconstitutional poll tax.