Wisconsin’s state Senate passed a voter ID bill Thursday afternoon that goes beyond similar measures passed in other states. In addition to requiring that voters bring photo identification to the polls in order to vote, the bill also requires voters to sign poll books, reduces the state’s early voting period from one month to two weeks and mandates that voters to have lived at their current residences for 28 days prior to an election instead of 10.
Protesters filled the Senate’s overhead gallery during the debate and vote, yelling “Shame!” and “Recall!”
Ten states currently require a photo ID card to vote. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed a voter ID bill on Wednesday. Opponents argue that such measures are simply costly solutions to problems that don’t exist. Implementing the Wisconsin bill, for example, which would go into full effect for the 2012 general election cycle, could cost the state up to $7 billion.
Democrats and civil rights groups are convinced that Republicans are pushing voter ID bills through state legislatures in an effort to grab power and disenfranchise minorities and other groups by making it more difficult for them to vote. But presidential hopeful Herman Cain says opponents of the bill are trying to protect voter fraud.
“When you have civil rights organizations who want to jump up and start talking about how it’s in violation of civil rights, that is absolutely not the case,” Cain told a group of Tea Party activists, Politico reports. “All they’re trying to do is protect the voter fraud that they know is going on.”
(Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)