The Republican run Congress is having to delay renewal of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which eliminated many anti-black voting practices of the past. Apparently what caused the the delay was House Republican disagreement on providing bilingual ballots and continuing federal oversight of Southern states. This delay has also pushed back the U.S. Senate taking up the issue next week.
To his credit, F. James Sensenbrenner was right in the middle of the Republican fight with their own over the Voting Rights Act. He said that as a result of a dozen hearings in the Judiciary Committee, he believes that discrimination still exists and that the federal oversight should continue.
The above actions of F. James Sensenbrenner are admirable, but much of that good will is extinguished after his recent joint action with Republican candidate for governor Mark Green. As I have previously written, these two Republicans are insisting that Wisconsinites that register at the polls must provide a driver's license number. This is contrary to a ruling by the State Elections Board which approved the use of voters Social Security numbers. After that ruling the two Republican Congressmen ran to the U.S. Department of Justice to get an opinion on the State's ruling. The U.S. Department of Justice then came back telling the State that voter cannot use the social and must use the driver's license. That disagreement will likely continue in court.
It seems clear that this is a naked effort by Senensbrenner and Green to move us one step closer to requiring voter ID's to exercise voting rights in Wisconsin. A study by UW-Milwaukee shows us that requiring Voter ID's puts a disproportional burden on minorities, the elderly and students, among others. A Voter ID requirement in Georgia was overturned last year by a federal judge. That judge compared the Voter ID requirement to jim crow era poll taxes on black voters.
I guess the obvious question for F. James Sensenbrenner is why are you against the old poll tax while at the same time advocating for the new one?