Known as the Voter ID Law, the identification requirements at the time of voting may have influenced the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race, and is another obstacle that the so-called #BlueWave may face in the midterm elections.
It is difficult to forget that fateful day in which the national map slowly painted red on all news channels.
With their heads in their hands, US citizens - and the whole world, to be honest - wondered "How could this happen?"
On Monday, a Republican Attorney General revealed one of the possible causes.
Brad Schimel, Attorney General of the State of Wisconsin, stated that "we battled to get voter ID on the ballot for the November 2016 election," Mother Jones reported. In an interview with conservative broadcaster Vicki McKenna on April 12, Schimel unveiled the secret: "How many of your listeners really honestly are sure that Senator Johnson was going to win re-election or President Trump was going to win Wisconsin if we didn’t have voter ID to keep Wisconsin’s elections clean and honest and have integrity?"
This assertion proves Democratic claims true when they assured that "the voter ID law suppresses Democratic turnout", explained the Journal Sentinel.
A controversial law
The Help America Vote Act approved in 2002 required at the federal level that "the voter must present some type of identification for federal elections" in the case of all new voters who had registered by mail or who had not submitted a valid number of driver's license or the last four digits of the social security number.
Although since 1950 there was some kind of law requirement, "no state asked its voters to present a photo ID issued by the government as a condition before voting".
All this changed in 2006 when states like Indiana began to strengthen their rules.
By September 2016, "33 states had approved some type of identification requirement", which were consecutively argued in court because they were considered "discriminatory" for a large part of the Democratic voters.
A suppression weapon
During the 2016 elections, then-candidate Donald Trump frequently denounced that "millions of people vote illegally" in the country, something that has been refuted by studies carried out nationwide.
But in the case of Wisconsin, the data seem to indicate that what is real is that voter identification measures reduce the numbers of participation in electoral processes.
As Mother Jones continues, a federal court found in 2014 that "9 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin did not possess the identification necessary to vote." In addition, a state study released in September 2017 showed that "1 in 10 registered voters in Milwaukee County and Madison's Dane County who did not cast a ballot in 2016 cited the voter ID law as a reason why" the media continues.
"That meant that up to 23,000 voters in the two heavily Democratic counties - and as many as 45,000 voters at the statewide – didn’t vote because of the voter ID law," concludes Mother Jones. "Trump won the state by 22,000 votes."
For his part, the governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, refuted the statements of the Attorney General, saying that "it was clear that people weren’t happy with Hillary Clinton because she didn’t visit the state after the primary, and Trump connected with people who felt ignored," the Associated Press reported.