Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hope from afar

By Bill Kraus

In Wisconsin we still have Senator Fitzgerald who is in denial, Speaker Vos who is in opposition, Governor Walker who is in absentia.

In Ohio we have the Republican legislature and Governor Kasich enacting and signing a redistricting statute which creates a bipartisan process to draw districts which are more competitive.

It ain't Iowa. But it ain't bad.

Motivations are not revealed, but a not far afield guess would be that the governor has his sights set on something beyond Ohio and wants to get rid of baggage that a wider audience might consider gerrymandering friendly.

Scott Walker could take comfort and action from this, and use his proximity to Iowa to do likewise.

Simultaneously we learn that the state of Alabama is in court defending district packing to reduce the number of districts where black votes are significant by putting a lot of them in as few districts as possible.

If the Supremes do the right thing for this minority, is it possible that the strategy of district packing for any questionable purpose could be put into disrepute?

It might be.

An anti-packing decision and a move by our openly ambitious governor to de-gerrymander himself could bring rays of light to what seemed to be a pretty dark 2015.

Where there's light there's hope.

Happy Holidays to all.

Bill Kraus lives in Madison, is the former press secretary for Governor Lee Dreyfus, and is the Chair of the State Governing Board of Common Cause of Wisconsin.

Follow Bill Kraus on:

twitter / wmkraus

Friday, December 12, 2014

Voter Photo ID

By Bill Kraus

You may have noticed that many state legislatures have put a lot of time and effort into crafting legislation that would require voters to identify themselves with a driver’s license, a passport or an authorized card with their picture on it.

Irrespective of the motivation behind these laws—-voter suppression, a response to polls which show a very high percentage of citizens think this is a good idea, fear of voter fraud, or something else either real or imagined—-they have spawned a long series of lawsuits, court decisions, and appeals from decisions.

In one form or another the lawsuits opposing voter photo IDs are contending these laws are really poll taxes in sheep’s clothing.

Not real taxes of course. But complying with the requirement, even if the ID is provided free, is said to cause inconvenience and expense which are annoying at best and probably unconstitutional to boot.