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Wednesday, 05 October 2016 00:00

 A 90-Year-Old Woman Who’s Voted Since 1948 Was Disenfranchised by Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law

Written by Ari Berman | The Nation
 Wisconsin native Christine Krucki.  Wisconsin native Christine Krucki. (Sharon Erickson)

Voting-rights groups are asking a federal court to block the law before the November election.

Christine Krucki was born in Lublin, Wisconsin, in 1925. She first voted in the 1948 presidential election and has voted ever since. She’s an independent who has voted for John F. Kennedy but also Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. But after Wisconsin passed its strict voter-ID law in 2011, Krucki lost her right to vote. She made three trips to the DMV, bringing an Illinois photo ID, proof of residence in Wisconsin, a birth certificate and her marriage certificate but could not get a Wisconsin photo ID for voting.

Krucki first traveled to the DMV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in June 2013 with her daughter. “My mother does not have an unexpired passport, Wisconsin-issued photo ID, or any other kind of photo acceptable for voting,” her daughter, Sharon Erickson, said in a court declaration filed by the ACLU. Krucki lived in Illinois most of her life, before moving to Wisconsin five years ago, and no longer drives. She brought her Illinois photo ID, a bank statement and an insurance statement to the DMV. But DMV workers said she needed a birth certificate to get a Wisconsin ID for voting.

The problem was that Krucki was born on a farm and didn’t know where her birth certificate was. Erickson called the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and paid $20 for her birth certificate. However, her Polish last name, “Zaszczurynski,” was spelled “Zaszcronynska” instead.

She brought the birth certificate with her on a second trip to the DMV, but the DMV once again would not issue her a voter ID because the birth certificate didn’t match her current last name, Krucki, which she adopted after getting married. They said she’d have to obtain her marriage certificate from Illinois. Erickson paid $15 to get the marriage certificate from Cook County, Illinois, but it listed her maiden name as “Bandys” because Krucki had adopted that name, rather than the Polish name Zaszczurynski, after moving in with her adopted stepsister in her 20s.

Krucki made a third trip to the DMV, but could still not get a voter ID because the maiden name on her Illinois marriage certificate did not match the name on her Wisconsin birth certificate. They said she’d have to change the name on her Illinois marriage certificate. “She almost went over the counter at the DMV, she was so mad,” her daughter told me.

Erickson called the courthouse in Cook County and they said it would cost between $150–300 to amend her mother’s Illinois marriage certificate. A clerk in Eau Claire said there was a “chance” a Wisconsin judge would amend her mother’s documents if they paid $300 in court fees. At that point, Erickson gave up trying to get her mother a Wisconsin voter ID.

The April 5, 2016, presidential primary in Wisconsin was the first election in her life in which Krucki was unable to vote.

After Governor Scott Walker said the voter-ID law “works just fine,” Erickson wrote an angry letter to the governor telling her mother’s story. “We want you to know how the law that you supported and signed into law affects your constituency in an extremely negative way,” she wrote. “Why are the Wisconsin Republicans as well as the Republicans nationwide attempting to rig elections by stifling the right to vote of good and honest Americans?”

Less than five weeks before the presidential election, there are still major problems with Wisconsin’s voter-ID law. Last week, The Nation published an exclusive story detailing how two African-American voters, Zack Moore and Claudell Boyd, brought multiple documents with them to the DMV confirming their identities but were still turned away without the necessary voter ID. Recordings from the DMV provided to The Nation by VoteRiders detailed how Moore and Boyd were not offered certificates for voting within six business days, as required by a federal court order.

Federal Judge James Peterson ordered the state to investigate how the DMV is implementing the voter-ID law and report back to the court by Friday, October 7. Subsequent reporting by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel showed how workers at seven different DMVs across the state provided inaccurate information about the law, in violation of the court order. “You’re not guaranteed to get an ID card,” a worker at the DMV in Hudson told a volunteer from VoteRiders. “Nothing’s guaranteed.”

Yesterday, the voting-rights group One Wisconsin Now filed a new brief asking Peterson to block the law before the November election. “Taken together, this evidence makes clear that the State does not have—and is incapable of implementing—a functioning safety net for its strict voter ID law. Because the existence of such a safety net was critical to this Court’s issuance of a partial stay and the en banc Seventh Circuit’s decision not to grant initial en banc review, the voter ID law must be enjoined unless and until the State can demonstrate that eligible voters will no longer be disenfranchised because of that law,” the lawsuit states.

Peterson has scheduled a hearing on the motion for October 12.

The filing noted that voters with ID issues are still not being given the help required by law.

1/3 of the voters who were formally denied IDs—most of whom were already disenfranchised in elections earlier this year—still do not have the ID they need to vote in the general election.

Nor is the state doing an adequate job of informing the public about the new ID requirements.

The State has not allocated any additional funding for paid advertising beyond the $250,000 that was appropriated for generalized voter ID advertising prior to this Court’s order.

The State’s advertising and outreach efforts are also plainly not targeted in any meaningful way at the individuals who are most likely to need to use the IDPP—voters who are poor, African American or Latino, and live in urban areas.

The State reports that it has placed advertisement in 52 movie theaters throughout the State, id. at 10-11, but not a single one of those theaters is in Milwaukee.

The DMV defending its handling of the voter-ID law during a legislative hearing yesterday, saying it planned to retrain 400 workers by Friday. “We believe that process is sound,” said Mark Gottlieb, head of the Department of Transportation.

Democrats were not satisfied with the response. “I have very little faith in the training measures that were discussed,” said Representative Lisa Subeck of Madison.

Democrats on the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules proposed holding an emergency legislative session to eliminate the voter-ID law before the election, but Republicans blocked it on a party-line vote.

Meanwhile, voters like Christine Krucki, Zack Moore, and Claudell Boyd will still not be able to cast a ballot in November unless the law, or the way it is implemented, changes very, very soon.

Link to original article from The Nation

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Rev. Rodney Sadler

Dr. Sadler's work in the community includes terms as a board member of the N.C. Council of Churches, Siegel Avenue Partners, and Mecklenburg Ministries, and currently he serves on the boards of Union Presbyterian Seminary, Loaves and Fishes, the Hispanic Summer Program, and the Charlotte Chapter of the NAACP. His activism includes work with the Community for Creative Non-Violence in D.C., Durham C.A.N., H.E.L.P. Charlotte, and he has worked organizing clergy with and developing theological resources for the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina. Rev. Sadler is the managing editor of the African American Devotional Bible, associate editor of the Africana Bible, and the author of Can a Cushite Change His Skin? An Examination of Race, Ethnicity, and Othering in the Hebrew Bible. He has published articles in Interpretation, Ex Audito, Christian Century, the Criswell Theological Review, and the Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature and has essays and entries in True to Our Native Land, the New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, the Westminster Dictionary of Church History, Light against Darkness, and several other publications. Among his research interests are the intersection of race and Scripture, the impact of our images of Jesus for the perpetuation of racial thought in America, the development of African American biblical interpretation in slave narratives, the enactment of justice in society based on biblical imperatives, and the intersection of religion and politics.

Rev. Rodney Sadler

Co - Chair - People Demanding Action
North Carolina Forward Together/Moral Monday Movem
Radio Host: Politics of Faith - Wednesday @ 11 am

People Power with Ernie Powell

Ernie Powell has been involved in public policy, progressive campaigns and grassroots efforts since the mid 1960's. He worked as a boycott organizer with the United Farm Workers from 1968 until 1973. He then became a community organizer in Santa Monica, California involved in affordable housing advocacy while working with others in laying the foundation for one of the most progressive local rent control measures in the country. He organized on behalf of environmental and coastal access and preservation issues in California as well. Beginning in 1993 he served as Advocacy Representative and later as Manager of Advocacy for AARP in California working on national and state issues. He left AARP in 2012 to work as Field Director for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare in Washington D.C. In late 2013 he returned to California and started a consulting business. He is a consultant with Social Security Works and is organizing groups nationally to fight for the protection and expansion of Social Security. He also consults with the California Long Term Care Ombudsman Association on issue impacting nursing home reform. He is a frequent author for Zocalo Public Square having just authored a piece on Social Security's 80th Birthday about the early impact of the Townsend Plan in building toward the passage of Social Security. Ernie has hosted two radio shows - the "Grassroots Corner" on "We Act Radio" in Washington D.C.and "the Campaign with Ernie Powell" at Radio Titans in Los Angeles. His focus for over 25 years has been on public policy issues impacting older Americans. He is a nationally recognized expert on grassroots organizing and campaigns. He is 66 years old and resides in Los Angeles, Ca.

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Social Security Works
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Robert Dawkins is the founder of SAFE Coalition, North Carolina located in Charlotte, North Carolina. SAFE Coalition NC is a grassroots community coalition working to build public trust and accountability in NC law enforcement. We believe that critical dialogue, citizen oversight and legislative action are required to design a safe, accountable, fair and equitable system of criminal justice in our state.

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