Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s administration is moving forward with a plan that would close as many as 10 driver’s license offices only months before a new law will require voters to present a photo ID before casting a ballot.
On May 25, Walker signed the voter photo ID bill which mandates voters present a driver’s license, state ID, military ID, passport, naturalization papers or tribal ID before casting their ballots.
Critics claim that the new voting restrictions disenfranchise minorities, students, the poor and the elderly — all groups who tend to vote Democratic.
A practice run earlier this month found that nearly 20 percent of voters coming to the polls did not have a photo ID with them.
Democratic Wisconsin state Rep. Andy Jorgensen told The Associated Press that Walker appeared to be targeting Democratic districts with his decision to shut down 10 Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices.
“What the heck is going on here?” Jorgensen wondered. “Is politics at play here?”
But Walker’s administration has denied the decision was political, saying the closures were part of an effort to expand operating hours at other DMV offices.
“This has nothing to do with politics,” Transportation Department executive assistant Reggie Newson said. “We’re trying to make sure that we can provide service in each county statewide efficiently.”