Says 'not willing to defend them anymore, I'm embarrassed by this'
Accuses colleagues of 'trying to suppress the vote'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/21/2014, 1:20pm PT  

Last week we told you how Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker considers implementing a polling place Photo ID restriction in his state to be so "pressing" that he would call a special session of the state legislature to do it. He says it's the only such matter "pressing" enough to merit such extraordinary action this year, in advance of the November 2014 election --- when Walker himself, just coincidentally, faces a very tight re-election race.

That, despite the fact that two state courts have already found the Republicans' existing polling place Photo ID voter restriction law to be a violation of the state constitution and that expert testimony during one of the two trials detailed how there is only one single known case of voter impersonation fraud in WI over the past 10 years that might have possibly been deterred by such a law. At the same time, tens of thousands of perfectly legal voters will likely be barred from voting under such a law.The state Supreme Court is currently deciding on the state's appeal to the lower courts' rulings.

Republicans pretend that implementing such a law is not about voter suppression, but now at least one of them, to his great credit, strongly and loudly disagrees.

This week, Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz accused his own party of "trying to suppress the vote" and said that he is "not willing to defend them anymore. I'm just not and I'm embarrassed by this."

Schultz also decried the current WI GOP effort to suppress the vote --- one which would likely effect many elderly as well as minority and student voters --- as an insult to veterans, calling it "a slap in the face at the very least to some of the people who gave some of the most vital years of their life in the service of their country"...

Speaking on a Madison, WI radio show this week, Schultz said: "I began this session thinking that there was some lack of faith in our voting process and we maybe needed to address it. But I have come to the conclusion that this is far less noble."

Josh Israel at Think Progress offers more from the transcript of the show:

SCHULTZ: It's just, I think, sad when a political party - my political party - has so lost faith in its ideas that it's pouring all of its energy into election mechanics. And again, I'm a guy who understands and appreciates what we should be doing in order to make sure every vote counts, every vote is legitimate.

But that fact is, it ought to be abundantly clear to everybody in this state that there is no massive voter fraud.

The only thing that we do have in this state is we have long lines of people who want to vote. And it seems to me that we should be doing everything we can to make it easier, to help these people get their votes counted. And that we should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future, rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.

Israel notes Schultz went on to call the Republican effort "just plain wrong", adding: "It is all predicated on some belief there is a massive fraud or irregularities, something my colleagues have been hot on the trail for three years and have failed miserably at demonstrating."

You are absolutely right, Senator. Thank you for saying as much out loud. We're as embarrassed for your party as you are.

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