Equal Protection: Absentee Voter IDs

With all the talk about the new Wisconsin voter ID requirements, there seems to be little discussion about the lack of photo identification for the thousands of citizens who will be voting by absentee ballot, and since they obviously will not have to prove who they are by photo to any election official before dropping their ballots in the mail, the treatment of those taking the time and extra effort to actually show up at polling places, as compared to those voting by mail, would seem to raise questions of the denial of “Equal Protection” of the law, under the 14th Amendment.

Although there was virtually no evidence of any measurable voter fraud in prior Wisconsin elections, and the real purpose of the new state photo ID law is to suppress turnout, to be constitutional, the law cannot irrationally treat one class of citizens differently than another. It seems the Republican voter suppression crowd must either make everyone present voter IDs to election officials, or they cannot require anyone to do it. Why would it be rational to excuse the ID burden from thousands of ballots sent by mail?

While it is highly unlikely absentee ballots would be the product of fraud, the same is true of those seeking to vote by actually showing up at polling places. Due to the absence of fraud from either source, the law must treat all classes of citizens the same, and cannot irrationally single out one group in favor of another. The courts should consider an Equal Protection argument when passing upon the new voter photo ID law, and declare it unconstitutional.


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