74°

John Nichols: Scott Walker slanders critics of voter ID law

The League of Women Voters, Common Cause and clean government groups across Wisconsin opposed the draconian voter ID law developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council and Scott Walker's cronies in the state Legislature.

A Dane County Circuit Court judge has determined that the law violated basic constitutional premises. And the courts have stayed its implementation.

Yet Gov. Walker now says: “I’ve always thought in this state, close elections, presidential elections, it means you probably have to win with at least 53 percent of the vote to account for fraud. One or two points, potentially. ... That’s enough to change the outcome of the election. ... Absolutely. I mean there’s no question why they went to court and fought (to undo) voter ID.”

The governor's statement is false on its face.

Wisconsin has historically had a reputation for clean elections. When national Republicans -- at the behest of Karl Rove -- tried to gin up fears about voter fraud in 2004, 2006 and 2008, they turned up so little fraud that the efforts drew laughs from serious observers of the process.

In 2010, when the governor and his allies won key elections, the Republicans stopped complaining.

Now, however, the governor suggests that voter fraud is a huge problem -- apparently trying to foster the impression that if he loses in a close election it might be because of fraud.

That's absurd.

But his most absurd claim is that the good-government groups that opposed the 2011 voter ID law -- and that have spearheaded legislative and legal challenges to it -- did so in order to perpetuate voter fraud.

That's simply untrue.

And the governor knows it.

John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. jnichols@madison.com

About John Nichols

John Nichols

John Nichols, associate editor of The Capital Times, is the author of seven books on politics and the media. He writes about electoral politics and public policy for The Nation magazine, and is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times.

John NicholsEmailTwitter