Let's be clear here: it's not exactly breaking news that photo ID laws are designed not to fight voter fraud—which is all but nonexistent—but primarily to make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote. Still, it's nice to hear it from the horse's mouth sometimes. The location, once again, is Wisconsin:
You wanna know why I left the Republican Party as it exists today? Here it is; this was the last straw: I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters.
Think about that for a minute....A vigorous debate on the ideas wasn't good enough. Inspiring the electorate and relying on their agenda being better to get people to vote for them wasn't good enough. No, they had to take the coward's way out and come up with a plan to suppress the vote under the guise of 'voter fraud.' The truth? There was almost none.
That's from Todd Allbaugh, former chief of staff for Wisconsin state Sen. Dale Schultz (R). TPM's Tierney Sneed gave him a call:
Once he left politics, Allbaugh opened a Madison, Wisconsin, coffee shop, where TPM reached him over the phone and he elaborated on those claims.
“It just really incensed me that they started talking about this particular bill, and one of the senators got up and said, ‘We really need to think about the ramifications on certain neighborhoods in Milwaukee and on our college campuses and what this could do for us,’” Allbaugh said.
....According to Allbaugh, at this point in the point of meeting, Schultz brought up his own concerns with the voter ID legislation. “He was immediately shot down by another senator who said, ‘What I am interested in is getting results here and using the power while we have it, because if the Democrats were in control they would do they same thing to us, so I want to use it while we have it.'”
I wonder how many cases we need of legislators and aides either admitting this outright (like Allbaugh) or accidentally telling the truth about it (like Pennsylvania's Mike Turzai) before the Supreme Court is willing to take a fresh look at its naive 2008 ruling upholding voter ID laws. At the time, the court wrote that concerns about voter fraud "should not be disregarded simply because partisan interests may have provided one motivation for the votes of individual legislators." Since then, evidence has continued to pile up that voter fraud is an entirely fake concern and partisan interests are the only motivation for voter ID laws. It's time to overturn Crawford.