Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is up for re-election in a year where it couldn’t get much better to be a Republican. Fears that President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings might affect nationwide mid-term elections have plagued Democrats during the lead-up to November 8. In the balance hangs the possibility of Republicans taking control of the Senate, not to mention Walker’s position in Wisconsin and 10 other slots for governor up for grabs nationwide. But one topic causing a great divide among independents is going to be difficult for Walker to handle unscathed — voter ID laws. That, however, didn’t stop Scott from hitting the topic head-on in a debate with Democratic candidate Mary Burke earlier this week.
“It doesn’t matter if there’s one, 100 or 1,000. Amongst us who would be that one person who would like to have our vote canceled out by a vote that was cast illegally?”
Walker continued to defend voter ID verification adamantly during the debate despite protests from Burke that voter ID laws are harmful to democracy. Burke sharply contrasted with Scott’s defense of voter ID laws. The Democratic candidate countered that 300,000 Wisconsin residents are without some form of voter ID, reported Politico, and therefore would not be able to vote.
Burke isn’t the only one at odds with Walker’s ideas on the subject — the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID from being enforced earlier this week, along with 10 other states with similar voter ID laws. Walker signed the voter ID bill into law in May 2011 after it passed in Wisconsin’s congress. In 2012, soon after the re-election of President Barack Obama, a federal judge killed the voter ID law, leaving it stagnant until the Supreme Court chose to rule on the case. As the Supreme Court has recently tabled it indefinitely, Wisconsin will not be enforcing voter ID laws in the November 8 election.
Outside of the realm of voter ID, Burke also accused Walker of his own type of fraud — putting corporate interests before promises he had made to Wisconsin voters. The Democratic candidate said that mining company Gogebic Taconite had monetarily influenced Scott to assist the group in establishing an open-pit iron mine. As evidence, she cited a $700,000 donation the company had made to a pro-Walker organization.
“There’s no [reason] that big money special interest should have a great voice than you do. Big companies get government handouts while small businesses are struggling … I’m not going to be selling out to the special interests.”
Scott Walker assured Mary Burke that his “motives were pure” in the incident. Whether or not Wisconsin agrees with Walker on voter ID laws will be seen when he and Burke face-off on November 8.
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