Madison Office: 122 South, State Capitol  Phone: (608) 266-7745  E-mail:


April 29, 2008

A Column of Personal Opinion
By State Senator Sheila Harsdorf

Supreme Court Validates
Wisconsin Voter ID efforts


The United States Supreme Court has upheld an Indiana state law that requires photo identification following a recent constitutional challenge. Twenty-five states require some form of identification for voting.

In Wisconsin, efforts to establish photo identification for voting have been vetoed by Governor Doyle and most recently blocked by Senate majority leadership. 

Past reports from the Milwaukee-area have raised alarms as to the prevalence of voter fraud.  I believe Wisconsin should take proactive steps to protect against fraud and not wait for an electoral crisis to make prudent reforms.  When fraudulent votes are cast in any part of the state, it effectively disenfranchises those that legitimately cast their ballots throughout Wisconsin.  Also, the best way to safeguard Wisconsin’s same-day voter registration is with voter identification.

In the opinion that upheld voter identification, the Court’s most liberal justice John Paul Stevens wrote that there was not sufficient evidence that such voter identification laws deterred voting.  Of course, the arguments pertaining to the constitutionality of voter identification were also addressed.  Under Wisconsin’s proposal, identification cards would be provided to those that cannot afford them and provisions to exempt frail and homebound citizens for identification requirements have been included.

Following the 2000 Presidential election debacle, many states took steps to enact basic reforms that protect voter integrity.  Wisconsin has been left behind, as past veto overrides have failed by just a handful of votes.   

Do you think voter identification laws are a burden or a prudent step to ensure integrity in our elections?  Please let me know by calling my office at 1-800-862-1092 or sending me an email to