2016 Primaries: Wisconsin’s Turn

The polls in Wisconsin primary opened at 7 AM CT. The primary is also a general election for state and local judicial candidates. Wisconsin voters are very highly engaged and the turn out, even for local elections tends to be higher than other states. That may change. This is the first election since the new Wisconsin’s strictest-in-the-nation voter identification law went into effect.

Advocates for and against the law agree that approximately 300,000 eligible voters lack eligible photo IDs – in part because, as a staffer for the voter ID bill’s lead sponsor, state representative Jeff Stone, told the Racine Journal Times in 2012: “When the bill was being drafted, we were trying to limit the number [of eligible forms of identification], not expand it.”

The list of eligible identification is, as a result, short. If the cards were valid as of the 2014 general election, voters can show: a Wisconsin driver’s license; a non-driver’s ID issued by the state department of transportation; a military ID card issued by a US uniformed service; a US passport; or an identification card issued by a federally recognized Native American tribe with land in Wisconsin.

Those rules mean, for example, that tribal IDs from tribes without land in Wisconsin are ineligible; expired driver’s licenses or passports are ineligible; and out-of-state licenses, even if valid, are ineligible, among other commonly used forms of ID. And, advocates note, the state’s computer systems went down for three hours on Friday, which caused problems for in-person absentee voters and those attempting to obtain eligible identification before the primary.

Without a driver’s license or federal ID, voters can, as of last month (which was after February’s primary for judicial elections), show an unexpired photo ID issued by the Veteran’s Health Administration; a certificate of naturalization, if it’s less than two years old; or a receipt for a driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card that is less than 45 days old, since Governor Scott Walker’s administration outsourced the production of driver’s licenses to California in 2011 and otherwise eligible voters have to wait to receive them in the mail.

The state’s college and university students face special restrictions if they choose to show a student ID at the polls: though most universities issue cards with expiration dates five years after matriculation and without a signature, students must show a student ID at the polls with a date of issuance, the student’s signature and an expiration date of no more than two years after the date of issuance. As a result, many universities have begun issuing secondary student IDs that comply with the laws. If students choose to use university-issued IDs at the polls, they must then also show proof of current enrollment, such as a paid tuition bill or a certified class schedule in order to vote.

After the five hour wait to vote in Arizona’s primary last month, the new ID law could create even greater problems for voters.

The races for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are close. Senator Bernie Sanders is holding a slight lead over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with with 49 percent support to Clinton’s 46 percent, according to Huffinton Post‘s polling.

The polling for the Republican race has Sen.Ted Cruz with a narrow lead over billionaire bluster Donald Trump.

HuffPost Pollster, which includes all publicly available polling, gives Cruz an average 41 percent of the vote to Trump’s 38 percent, while Kasich averages 21 percent.

Cruz has been calling for Kasich to drop out of the race whining that the Ohio governor’s presence on the ballot is hurting his chance at defeating Trump.

On Monday, Mr. Cruz amplified calls for Mr. Kasich to step aside and predicted that “the people would quite rightly revolt” if party leaders tried to elevate anyone other than Mr. Cruz or Mr. Trump at a contested convention in July.

Mr. Cruz has begun airing ads in Wisconsin accusing Mr. Kasich of cronyism as Ohio’s governor. He has sent mailers attacking Mr. Kasich’s record on spending and his views on the Second Amendment. And his team has accused Mr. Kasich of auditioning to be Mr. Trump’s vice president, with some joking that he must be receiving some sort of payment.

The exasperation with Mr. Kasich has been long in the making, but as Mr. Trump stumbles and his grasp on the nomination is loosened, it is reaching a boiling point.

Both Cruz and Sanders would have to win by wide margins to make a dent in the delegate gap with the front runners Trump and Clinton.

This may be a very late night if the race remains this close. The results will be posted here and in comments.

Now for something lighter: