Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

An “Epidemic” of Voter Suppression

Experts say it's a massive problem in the state and may have swung election nationally.

By - Nov 17th, 2016 12:23 pm
Reince Priebus at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Reince Priebus at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, NV. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

Molly McGrath is a Madison-based staff member with the national group VoteRiders, which helps people struggling with new state voting restrictions. Over the last year she worked full time every day on that problem in Wisconsin, answering questions from people who lack the proper credentials or are confused by the new rules.

“I have talked to voters all over the state–Beloit to Superior, Cameron, Marshfield, Neenah, St. Croix Falls, Kenosha, Plymouth–and everywhere in between,” she says. “We have a help line where we get calls every day.”

And how bad is the problem of voter suppression?

“I would say it’s an epidemic in Wisconsin.”

Madison had a high turnout for the presidential election. Even so, McGrath says, “there were a significant number of people who didn’t vote because of this. If you make something harder to do less people are going to do it.”

But the problem was much bigger in Milwaukee, where turnout was down by 61,000 votes and Democrat Hillary Clinton got about 43,000 fewer votes than Barack Obama in 2012.

Given that Republican Donald Trump won the state by just 27,000 votes, that 43,000 margin by itself made the difference.

Neil Albrecht, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, told the Journal Sentinel the greatest declines were “in the districts we projected would have the the most trouble with ID requirements.” That included four districts in the city with the most “transient, high poverty” residents struggling to meet the photo ID requirements. “We had a lot of calls” about such problems, he added.

Milwaukee also has more than 50,000 students attending colleges and universities like UW-Milwaukee, Marquette and MSOE. And university students, says McGrath, often have drivers licenses from outside the state that can’t be used to vote without additional identification forms. Many, she says, are first time voters who can be confused about the new requirements.

Former Republican legislative aide Todd Allbaugh testified in federal court that Republicans lawmakers were “giddy” about the Voter ID law and its likely impact on elections. As he recalled, Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) said “Hey, we’ve got to think about what this would mean for the neighborhoods around Milwaukee and the college campuses.” Republican Congressman Glenn Grothman predicted that Photo ID could swing the presidential election to his party.

As McGrath puts it, “I think it’s more than coincidence that in areas legislators were targeting, like low-income neighborhoods in Milwaukee, we’ve seen a decrease in turnout.”

The problem of voters confused by the rules, she says, was compounded by inaccurate information being provided by state Division of Motor Vehicle staff. VoteRiders provided audios of misleading statements by DMV workers to federal court, and state officials later admitted workers were giving out inaccurate information.

Tom Evenson, spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker, has denied that voter restrictions are a problem, pointing to the high turnout for the spring presidential primary. But it’s always the fall presidential primary that gets the highest turnout, and this year’s had the lowest in 20 years, since the low-interest Bill ClintonBob Dole race.

“Voter suppression is alive and well in Wisconsin,” says McGrath, “and for elected officials to say this didn’t have an impact is a lie to the people they serve.”

Kathleen Unger, President and CEO of VoteRiders, says her group gets calls from virtually every state regarding people facing barriers or confused about voting. “There are two ways voter restrictions have an impact: those who try to vote and don’t have valid ID. And an equal or larger number who are so confused and intimidated by Voter ID that they don’t vote.”

A 2014 study by the non-partisan federal Government Accountability Office compared voter turnout in Kansas and Tennessee to turnout in the four states that did not have changes in their voter ID requirements from the 2008 to 2012 general elections, and found that turnout was reduced by an estimated 1.9 to 2.2 percentage points in Kansas and 2.2 to 3.2 percentage points in Tennessee. A study of one Texas congressional district in 2014 found that of some 271,000 registered voters who didn’t vote, 12.8 percent said it was because they thought they lacked the needed credentials under the new law. That’s more than 34,000 people.

A study by Daniel Smith, an elections scholar at the University of Florida, compared the turnout of Florida voters in the 2008 and 2012 elections. Between those elections, Florida’s Legislature cut six days from the state’s 14-day early-voting period, including the final Sunday. He found that “one in four Latinos who voted on the final Sunday in ’08 didn’t vote at all in ’12.”

Election watchdog groups “have documented beyond any doubt that voter suppression and a conscious effort to shave off 1 or 2 percent of the vote in key states, in all likelihood, influenced the outcome of this election,” said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, in an interview with McClatchyDC.

His group issued a report finding that 43 percent of counties that had previously been covered by the federal Voting Rights Act reduced their number of voting locations, resulting in 868 fewer sites in those jurisdictions with histories of discriminatory voting practices and predominantly nonwhite and poor voters.

If voter suppression is shaving off one to two percent of the vote, that could have been decisive in enough states to give Trump, the popular vote loser, the edge in the electoral college. Those states include:
-Michigan, which has Voter ID and Trump has won Michigan less by 13,107 votes out of 4,785,223 votes cast, or less than three tenths of one percent. 16 electoral votes.

-Wisconsin, Trump won by 27,000 votes or 1 percent. 10 electoral votes.
-Florida, Trump won by 120,000 votes or 1.3 percent. 29 electoral votes.

Winning these states would give Hillary Clinton the majority (287) of electoral votes. She has won the popular vote by more then one million votes.

Florida, besides requiring Photo ID, reducing early voting, and restricting voter registration drives, is one of just three states that permanently disenfranchise anyone with a felony conviction. Felons have to travel to the state capital and request that the governor grant them clemency on an individual basis, as Think Progress has noted:

“That process has become even more difficult since Republican Gov. Rick Scott was elected in 2011. During governor Charlie Crist’s four years in office, more than 150,000 people had their rights restored….But when Scott took office, the clemency board changed its rules and progress slowed to a crawl. In his first term as governor, fewer than 1,600 people have had their rights restored.”

Kris W. Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State. Photo by Walt Whitaker from the State of Kansas.

Kris W. Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State. Photo by Walt Whitaker from the State of Kansas.

Trump seems open to appointing Republicans who champion voter suppression. For his attorney general, he has considered appointing Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who agreed to add nearly 20,000 properly registered voters to the state’s rolls only after being threatened with contempt of court. Trump’s chief of staff is Wisconsinite Reince Priebus, who has charged that this state is “riddled” with voter fraud, estimating that up to 2 percent of all votes in Wisconsin are fraudulent. In the 2012 presidential election, that would have meant more than 61,000 votes were cast illegally.

Priebus offered no evidence whatsoever to back up this astonishing claim, but a GAO study analyzed voter fraud statistics across the U.S. and found that in the 10 year period between 2004 and 2014, exactly zero cases of voter impersonation were charged, let alone tried. Another study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt examined every claim of voter fraud nationally since 2000, and found just 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation out of one billion votes cast.

“It would appear that a Trump administration will be more supportive of Voter ID laws and this is likely to be an increasing challenge for voters,” says Unger.

After all, Trump might not have won without voter suppression.

Categories: Murphy's Law, Politics

83 thoughts on “Murphy’s Law: An “Epidemic” of Voter Suppression”

  1. WashCoRepub says:

    If you look up the ‘partners’ of the ‘experts’ at VoteRiders, it’s the usual assortment of liberal groups, including:
    -Citizen Action of WI
    -League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County
    -Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

    Of course, they’re ‘non-partisan’ and ‘nonprofit.’
    Will they get a pass from the IRS on their tax status? Of course!

  2. Huck L. Berry says:

    “After all, Trump might not have won without voter suppression.”

    What a ridiculous statement.

    So only democrats are negatively affected by voter ID laws? Only democrats are incapable of figuring out how to get a photo ID? Suggesting all ‘transient, high-poverty’ people think and vote the same is a racist assumption.

  3. DTY says:

    Democrats shouldn’t blame voter suppression or even voter turnout for these election results – even though they are both real issues. They should look instead to all of “protest voters” who cast ballots for third party candidates. In many key states – including Wisconsin – the third party candidates received 4-5% of the vote which was far more than the margin of victory for Trump. Granted, some are people who legitimately believe in those candidates, but by most accounts a lot was just based on a “none of the above” concept.

    If the Dems couldn’t convince voters that Clinton would have been a better option than a protest vote, then they need to look at themselves rather than blaming outside forces.

  4. Milwaukee Voter says:

    Two things to keep in mind:

    1. Democratic turnout was primarily suppressed due to poor candidates and a lack of a get out the vote effort. Team Hillary arrogantly assumed that Wisconsin was in the bag for her – she didn’t even visit the state as the Democratic nominee.

    2. Your right that the Voter ID law did suppress votes – all those dead voters were denied the right to vote for the first time.

  5. John says:

    In answer to WashCoRepub: Report them. I think you’ll find that they operate with the laws governing non-profits

    In answer to Huck L. Berry: YES. Voter suppression laws are designed to disenfranchise ‘certain groups’ of voters. The excuse of having them (to eliminate non-existent voter fraud) never did pass the smell test.

    In answer to DTY: You might have a point, at least in part. External factors (the Comey letters) could have also played a role. Ditto the Wikileaks / Russian hacks of Dem-related emails. And yes, voter suppression is a real issue and that hurt turnout overall.

    And yes, voter turnout was a problem.

    Finally, the fact that the losing candidate got 2,000,000 more votes than the winning candidate begs the whole question of why we still have an electoral college. While the College vote has reflected the vote of the people 93% of the time, wouldn’t it be nice if the vote of the people, which is right 100% of the time, were used instead?

  6. Virginia says:

    Voter suppression has been the GOP’s Big New Idea. Yes, it worked.

    It joins a few other Old Ideas that are working well for the GOP–extreme gerrymandering after the 2010 census. They now hold wide majorities in the U.S. Senate and House (and Wisconsin Legislature) despite far greater numbers of votes for Democrats.

    And Trump used dog whistles, idle promises and lies to win vote after vote. Someone said that for many voters, once they respond to a candidate on an emotional level, they often will overlook all else.

  7. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The joke’s on Wisconsin and the other Rust Belt states that went red this time around. Do you really think the economies of these states are robust enough to weather the damage by Republicans (mis)managing the economy? Remember the last time Republicans controlled the federal government? The worst recession since the Great Depression.

    Now, with the GOP in control of the government, rampant speculation and free-trade friendly policies are going to reign supreme. When the recession (or depression) hits, and it will hit, there’ll be no healthcare, no social security, no food stamps, no federal aid for college students, no NOTHING, since Republicans will gut all of the spending on the social safety net and other programs aimed at promoting economic mobility.

    Good job Wisconsin, and other Rust Belt states full of rubes. You voted out of the federal government the party that created the longest expansion of jobs in history for the one that created the worst financial crisis of the millenium. The rest of the country is comforted by the fact that, at least if you’re going to bring down the entire country with you, you are going to fall the hardest and the fastest.

  8. Ben says:

    I honestly think the voter suppression phenomenon is a symptom of a much worse epidemic than the sketchy GOP tactics, and that epidemic is the resentment towards change. Wisconsinites have been mostly unwilling to adapt themselves to a globalizing economy (innovation and entrepreneurship in the state are much weaker than elsewhere in the country and in many parts of the world), and what little they have done was done so begrudgingly. Instead, Wisconsinites have chosen to waste their time fantasizing about a mythical past, the “good ole days” of working in the same factory for 45 years, and pathetically trying to re-create it. Similarly, Wisconsinites have been hostile and resentful towards changing demographics, so much so that instead of productively channeling political capital and resources towards helping people adapt to living in a multicultural society, they are wasting time gerrymandering, passing voter suppression laws, denouncing refugees and immigrants, etc.

    While the resentment for economic change is a decades-old problem, the political resentment towards change is a recent (and hopefully passing) phenomenon, and if it doesn’t change soon, I predict that, just as Wisconsin is becoming increasingly irrelevant from an economic standpoint compared to the rest of the country, it will also become increasingly irrelevant politically.

  9. Jeremy says:

    So many excuses. The Electoral College is already weighted for population. If there is a discussion for a complete overhaul of representation in Congress let’s do it. However, no one seems to be complaining about the number of Representatives in the House. Additionally, all candidates know the rules when they declare their candidacy. It’s no big surprise.

    Finally, if there are people who don’t make it a priority to figure out the requirements to vote or aren’t intelligent enough to navigate the system, I’m perfectly fine that their voice isn’t heard.

  10. Huck L. Berry says:


    Putting ‘certain groups’ in quotation marks doesn’t actually address any of my questions — it’s just code speak for POC.

    Trump actually received more votes from blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans than Romney did. That’s not voter suppression, but rather voter rejection of Hillary Clinton and her infantilizing brand of liberal ideology.

    If uneducated, poor, opiate addicted, coal mining hillbillies from the mountains of West Virginia are somehow able to figure out how to vote, then ‘certain groups’ living in urban areas are more than capable of doing the same.

    Voter suppression is phantasma.

  11. happyjack27 says:

    Huck: Name-calling is not an argument.

  12. Tom D says:

    Jeremy (post 9):

    You wrote “Finally, if there are people who don’t make it a priority to figure out the requirements to vote or aren’t intelligent enough to navigate the system, I’m perfectly fine that their voice isn’t heard.”

    If you want to limit voting to people who are “intelligent enough to navigate the system”, then why accept driver’s licenses as IDs? Most drivers (those who first got licenses before this voter ID stuff started) NEVER had to “navigate the system” that exists today. They never had to produce a birth certificate.

  13. Huck L. Berry says:


    Deflection is not a valid counterargument.

  14. John says:


    Let me make this very plain and simple. There is no real voter fraud. These laws are there to make it harder for ‘certain groups’ (blacks and other minorities, mostly) to vote. Let me repeat: There is no voter fraud.

    Which again begs the question. Why are these laws there?

    Look at where these laws exist: Only in red states. Wonder why?

    You could call me an old fashioned patriot. I think that a great democracy should do everything possible to make it as easy as possible for ALL citizens to vote. It’s also why I think we need to get rid of this joke called the Electoral College which was created for all of the wrong reasons, but over two hundred years later makes it possible to negate the majority vote from time to time.

  15. happyjack27 says:

    @Huck: counterargument to what?!? ad hominem abusive?!

    to have a counterargument you first need an argument.

    pointing out that someone is making a fallacy is a valid argument technique. indeed, it is quintessential – if one is building a dialogue out of things that aren’t even sound, it’s an exercise in futility.

    castles made of sand sink to the sea.

  16. happyjack27 says:

    @Jeremy 9: “The Electoral College is already weighted for population.”

    No, that’s not how it works Jeremy.

    If the popular presidential vote in Wisconsin is 51.45% – 48.55%, it’s10 electoral votes are not split 5.145 – 4.855. Hell, they’re not even split 5-5.

    Furthermore the total number of electoral votes a state receives is not weighted to its population, it is rounded to an integer. This means that in one state, a single electoral vote represents a different number of people than in another.

    So even if every state’s electoral votes were apportioned proportionally (e.g. 5.145 – 4.855), that would still not give everyone equal representation. people in states with a lower population-to-electoral votes would be over-represented, and with a higher would be under-represented.

  17. Joseph Klein says:

    I have suggested just putting people’s picture or even fingerprints into the voter database as a counter to voter ID. This is something that can be done by using an internet-enabled phone so door-to-do registration or registration at a library is possible and no ID is required at the polls.

    Now I know some people don’t like pictures at all (hence the fingerprint alternative), but something like this would eliminate the DMV shannaagains and more people could be registered and encouraged to participate by voting.

  18. Joseph Klein says:

    @Milwaukee Voter

    Show me one single documented case of a dead voter voting in the last 40 years.

  19. Patty says:

    Once again, all these are guesses. Don’t journalists investigate and then report facts anymore?

  20. happyjack27 says:

    Patty what are you referring to as guesses? The article itself is littered with facts and references to studies. That’s pretty much all the article is. I can only imagine you’re referring to some of the comments. If you point them out i’m sure i can find journalists who reported facts on them after a brief google search.

  21. tomw says:

    OK do voter ID but then get rid of these log books from 1950 and use readers like those used for credit cards. Swipe the ID and out comes a ballot. Have 50 readers per precinct. Cut down on the lines, cut down on the waiting time and modernize the process. One could even envision that one could vote at work or at any grocery. This absurd notion that we need to have these books and then sign is not only ridiculous but creates a disincentive to vote because of the long lines.

  22. Vincent Hanna says:

    This is timely. Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is terrifying. He wrongly prosecuted civil rights groups for voter fraud, among other things.

  23. John says:

    If anyone who really wants to understand why the Electoral College is such a joke, read this Time article which debunks — with facts — all of the reasons why people think it’s still relevant.

  24. SEWI Cal says:

    Let’s see… My Vote is being “supressed” but I just happen to have the # of VoteRiders (1-800-LeahDunham). I’ll call to see if they can help me! I like going through life with no I.D. even though there’s Gov. Mandates for everything else in life!

  25. happyjack27 says:

    “Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is terrifying. He wrongly prosecuted civil rights groups for voter fraud, among other things.”

    Among other things is right!

    * career racist
    * totally against equal rights for gays
    * anti-science
    * voted AGAINST a Senate amendment to a House bill that prohibited cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of individuals in the custody of the United States Government.
    * has earned a zero – ZERO – rating from the Human Rights Campaign, the United States’ largest LGBTQ advocacy group
    * did i mention he’s a career racist?

  26. BT says:

    Please, PLEASE keep these ridiculous, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good narrative articles coming!! Likewise, even if urbanMKE isn’t part of the now totally self destructed national and local mainstream media, keep blowing off the far more obvious REAL PROBLEM, so beautifully caught red handed on video and audio by James O’Keefe, with the patently stupid explanations like “clever editing” when the slimeball Democrat dark operatives go into such deep details about all sorts of things that prove true (YES! WI rental cars do have out of state plates!! We know thats true and then he talks about shell companies, buying cars at auctions, bus rentals, etc) If THAT can be done by clever editing, O’Keefe would be in Hollywood now and Scott Foval would NOT have IMMEDIATELY been fired!

    No, just forget the plainly obvious truth smacking you in the face and make up the silliest explanations that everyone knows make no sense at all, unless you have a complete lack of common sense, do you? One of your most loyal people is supposedly “smeared by clever editing and dishonest editing, so you just immediately FIRE THEM??!! IT ISN’T WORKING ANYMORE!! Well it is working in one way but not the way you intended, thanks for helping to elect PRESIDENT Trump!!! Just say it a few times and get used to it, PRESIDENT DONALD J TRUMP!!!!! BWAHAHAHHAAHA!!!!!! Plus, BOTH houses of concrete and a wide majority of state governments, PLEASE KEEP GOING AND WE’LL HAVE EVERYTHING!!!!! BWAHAHAHHAAHA!!!!

  27. happyjack27 says:

    @DTY, comment 3:

    * I think a bigger issue that we need to address is the mainstream media. In order to avoid the appearance of bias, they were very soft on Trump’s abhorrent behavior and served as a branch of the GOP’s propaganda machine to get ratings.

    The two big problems with the democratic edits are the mainstream media’s lack of backbone and America’s failing education system.

    * there are also solution to ballot spoilage that really need to happen, such as ranked choice voting. If it was applied at a national level, we could get rid of primaries, and Bernie sanders would probably the president elect.

  28. TW says:

    Cleveland’s voter turnout was down 22% without Voter ID laws like Wisconsin’s while Milwaukee’s was down 20%. If there is an epidemic, it is towards voter apathy due to weak candidates but certainly not voter suppression. The biggest voter suppression this election season was one party that promoted their entitled candidate to be the nominee and suppressed a fair primary process. Yet these same people are claiming the republicans are suppressing votes.

  29. Huck L. Berry says:


    You still haven’t answered my question. How is that poor, rural, uneducated whites living out in the boondocks are somehow able to vote, but minorities living in major metropolitan centers, surrounded by mass transit and do-gooder liberals cannot figure it out? So only non-white Democrats are affected by voter laws within a Red state? Is that your position? As I stated earlier, assuming all disenfranchised POC vote the same is racist. Minorities are not a monolith.


    Your ad hominem claim is nothing more than a red herring. Just because your reality differs from the one I wrote, doesn’t make it a fallacy. Check your privilege. Or just keep virtual signaling over some innocuous word from my post if it makes you feel any better, instead of actually addressing the question.

  30. Tom D says:

    Huck (post 28):

    You ask why “poor, rural, uneducated whites living out in the boondocks are somehow able to vote, but minorities living in major metropolitan centers, surrounded by mass transit…” cannot get an ID.

    The main reason is mass transit.

    Most rural Wisconsinites drive (and were therefore exempted from getting a new ID), whereas many city residents use transit and didn’t have a driver’s license (or a previously-almost-useless non-driver ID) when the these rules came out (which made it much harder to get an ID).

  31. happyjack27 says:

    @Huck – your entire comment that I responded to was nothing but insults to groups of people you know nothing about. That is classic ad hominem. Furthermore as hominem is a fallacy because the character of people – real or imagine – is not logically relevant to the merits of the topic.

    And to that point no where in your comment did you state any logical or causal relations not entirely contingent on how you feel about groups of people.

    Your “premises” where irrelevant abusive opinions. Your “logic” was nonexistent.

  32. Tom D says:

    Jeremy (post 9),

    The Electoral College gives MUCH higher weight to smaller states.

    For example, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming (combined) have barely half as many people as Wisconsin, yet (combined) they have more electoral votes than Wisconsin.

  33. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    TomD nails it- There are different living patterns and needs in rural Wisconsin vs. urban Wisconsin. And different needs for 18-22 year-olds vs older people in the working world. The GOP knew this, and geared the voter ID requirements accordingly to suppress the votes of Dem-leaning groups of people. Why should Dem-leaning groups have to go through extra effort to exercise their inherent rights?

    It’s not a debatable subject, and it is clear voter-suppression to slant the result toward Republicans. Trump did not legitimately win the state as a result, and it gives people a legitimate right to protest the result. And the whining, excuse-making and disproven talking points that righties have spewed in the talking points on this column reiterate what garbage it is…and what garbage they are for being OK with this suppression.

    You can already feel the payback coming, and not just at the ballot box if you keep trying to rig things. I’d shut up and walk away if I were a WisGOP. But then again, I’d have to sell off my conscience and decency if I did.

  34. Thomas says:

    Fellow readers,

    Please review posts 5 & 6 by John and Virginia respectively and the effort at dialogue between happyjack and Huck; then tell me if the 2016 may look less legitimate than the illegitimate election of 2000 – the election decided by one of the worst Supreme Court decisions ever that gave us what some have called our worst president ever.

    BT, please stop citing James O’Keefe. Jimmy OK is not a source; he is a symptom of a sickness. His videos are more twisted than Steven Colbert’s satiric rants on TRUTHINESS.

    Poetic justice could happen if the combination of voter suppression, WikiLeaks, fake news on FACEBOOK written by Macedonian hackers, and the intervention of the FBI on behalf of Trump inspired the righteous among us to raid David Clark’s arsenal of pitchforks and torches in time to keep Trump from assuming office. Maybe Joe Biden could serve as interim President until such time as we could have a legitimate election and install a legitimate president.

  35. sasquatchlunchbox says:

    Please, do not make assumptions or generalizations about rural areas. Trump won in counties that have gone Democrat in the past and voter turnout was also down in those counties.
    How Trump won some of those rural areas or what rural voters thought has not been studied on documented for this election; this article does not give us that.
    It talks about Madison and concentrates on Milwaukee, which is appropriate, this being a Milwaukee-centric publication.
    The closest the article comes to addressing anything rural Wisconsin is the quote by Molly McGrath saying, “I would say it’s [voter suppression is] an epidemic in Wisconsin.”
    So, in rural areas was it voter suppression, a weak and unappealing candidate in Hillary, tactical error by the campaign machine, disrespect for voters or some combination of these or other factors? There may be data and an analysis demonstrating cause and effect however it is not found here so far.
    I would also say there is insufficient information to conclude what happened with Milwaukee, “where turnout was down by 61,000 votes and Democrat Hillary Clinton got about 43,000 fewer votes than Barack Obama in 2012.” What truly were the factors: voter suppression, an epidemic of suckiness or what? Can the question be put to 61,000 people who voted before but not this time?

  36. BT says:

    Thomas, I’d been waiting for someone to respond to that elephant in the room, SO JUST LIKE 99.99% OF LIB COMMENTS, YOU BACK IT UP WITH-NOTHING!!! JUST A BIG PILE OF BULLSHIT! You didn’t even watch the videos, some jerk off moron friend “told you” and hey, that’s all you needed AND why you can’t back it up if your life depended on it!

    I know VAST MAJORITY on the left, regardless of education level (and Trump WON college educated white males with a bachelor’s degree or higher!) have ZERO COMMON SENSE. obvious for decades. You did not watch the O’Keefe videos, I know that already just like I know all about your total lack of common sense.

    No big deal though, you’re all under our boots now and after 8 terrible years with Obama (hey Barry! In between smoking crack in the back of a limo while some guy blows you and helping “Michelle” get back to “her” old ways as “MIKE”, try reading up on management before you screw up more businesses!!!!

  37. Tom D says:

    BT (post 34):

    What videos?

    Please provide a link.

  38. Vincent Hanna says:

    If O’Keefe’s videos are legit, why have they refused to release the unedited versions? Even to a friendly AG like Schimel who you’d think would be all over it? BT don’t you think O’Keefe craves attention more than anything else?

  39. Huck L. Berry says:


    So what you’re saying is poor white people living in rural areas all have working cars and never had to figure out how to get an ID in the first place? They’re just sent an ID in the mail as a reward for being poor and white?

  40. Vincent Hanna says:

    Are you positive that poor white people living in rural areas experience no problems voting? When this story discusses problems experienced by the poor and elderly, does that not apply to white people who are poor and elderly?

  41. Huck L. Berry says:


    People I know nothing about? I come from a family of coal miners. Try again.

    Or you can just keep talking in circles, pretending you take offense on behalf of poor, uneducated, white people that vote (R). There have been multiple news agencies covering exactly the type of demographic I described. Their existance isn’t a fallacy — unlike your regressive world view.

    You are in for a long 8 years (if not more).

  42. happyjack27 says:

    And he just piles on more ad hominem abusive….


  43. Huck L. Berry says:

    @happyjack (post 40):

    You clearly have no idea what ‘ad hominem’ means.

  44. happyjack27 says:

    oh please do enlighten me.

  45. Vincent Hanna says:

    Huck, are you positive that poor white people living in rural areas experience no problems voting? When this story discusses problems experienced by the poor and elderly, does that not apply to white people who are poor and elderly?

  46. Huck L. Berry says:

    @VHanna (post 43):

    We are in agreement; I think we’re both saying the same thing. Poor, rural, white people (some of which are elderly), are also negatively impacted by voter ID laws. The law doesn’t only affect non-white urban Democrats attempting to vote.

    Unfortunately, some individuals are unable (or unwilling) to admit this difficulty exists. Recognizing this point in no way suggests that minorities living in urban areas aren’t also negatively affected by voter ID laws.

  47. Virginia says:

    Unfortunately, “fake-news” stories, shared on social media more often than fact-based journalism, also played a big role in the presidential election. These knowingly false, click-bait items are making some people rich. Debunkers can’t debunk these stories fast enough. Even when they are exposed as lies, many choose to believe what they want to be true. Some are calling this trend our new “post-truth” world–or one in which Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” reigns (what feel “true” in your gut–regardless of the facts.

    Even Barack Obama said in a New Yorker article this week that it would be difficult to successfully run for office in this new climate that is largely driven by social media rather than agreed-upon facts.

  48. Tom D says:

    Huck (posts 37 & 44):

    Until 15 or 20 years ago, it was very easy to get an ID: just fill out a form, (erhaps pay a fee, and (sometimes) pose for a photo. There was never any requirement to produce a birth certificate.

    Anybody who got their license before we changed our ID requirements never “had to figure out how to get an ID in the first place” because there used to be nothing to figure out.

    The biggest challenge in getting a drivers license used to be passing the road test; now the biggest challenge is getting a birth certificate.

    While most people (even in cities) have some IDs (Social Security cards, employer IDs, credit/debit cards, library cards, etc), many don’t have the specific IDs needed to vote (passports, drivers licenses, or DMV IDs). This is much more the case for people in cities (especially poorer people) than elsewhere.

  49. Thomas says:

    BT, you are mistaken again. I have seen O’Keefe videos on ACORN and on Louisiana Senator Mary L. I had the common sense to see them as partisan propaganda. Your presumption of knowledge of the left is laughable. The word liberal is derived from the Latin for generous. Common sense tells me not to expect to hear anything generous from you any time soon.

  50. BT says:

    Well Thomas, I’m so sorry to burst your bubble here, but I’ve returned and returned bearing very nice gifts for everyone!! I’m sure everyone will love them and find hours and hours of wonderful enjoyment from these and unlike “liberal generosity” there’s no huge bill footed by the taxpayers that’s in reality, just a big scheme to repay countless favors so shamelessly done that it would even make Hillary proud!

    Here’s the link to O’Keefe’s group, which I’d think gets NO gov’t funding and would be shocked if it even bothered applying for 501c3 status, since the tolerant of ALL views libs took yet another one out of the Nixon playbook, amplified it and deny charity status to anything not in support of letting dirty old men hang out in women’s rest rooms (as well as truly transgendered people, ratio of 1 truly transgendered person for every 200 nasty child sex predators wearing clown suits and hanging out in the ladies room all day with a case of Jergens lotion, now THAT is charity worthy, like the Clinton Private Jets and a Literal Haitian Gold Mine For Hill’s Fat Loser Brother Foundation is too!

    Now, you’ll of course be in total denial of what you’re seeing, may need to phone a lib friend for the hundreds of excuses (LIES!) used to explain away everything and IF you’re brain dead, well that should do it. IF not (and I know, many very intelligent libs out there!) then you’ll have some issues with this, sucks when “your people” are flat out BUSTED!

    Of course, since the USUAL PREDICTABLE BS RESPONSES have already started to spring up ever since I dared to mention O’Keefe, here’s a very honest, warts and all Fact/Fiction page you’ll never see from Hillary:

    (She’d never have one since “True or False-Chelsea is really Bill’s daughter-ANSWER-No Comment you motherfu^&er!!! I told you NOT to ask that one a$$hole!” would NOT look good!”

    Here’s and easier link to see the yes EDITED (he explains that one well on the fact/fiction page and I doubt Vincent Handyclown has ever shown such false anger over last week’s Dateline episode “Love Triangle Gone Bad” or whatever it is, not showing ALL the video they shot, meaning it would start on Thursday at 7pm and run STRAIGHT THROUGH until Monday around 5am! O’Keefe knows how to cover his bases and if anyone can say they can sit there and listen to these scumbags like Foval, (AND MUCH OF THIS IS ALL ABOUT WISCONSIN VOTER FRAUD AND MILWAUKEE VOTER FRAUD!!!!) If you can watch just these four 10 or 15 min videos and honestly deny that, you are either lying to yourself or just dumb as a box of rocks!!!!

  51. Vincent Hanna says:

    Yes O’Keefe the convicted criminal infamous for manipulative video editing is a beacon of honesty and trustworthiness. Next you’ll insist Trump is a prime example of social media manners. Again, why does he refuse to provide a friendly Attorney General with the unedited videos? What possible reason could there be for that decision? You might have noticed that even conservative lawmakers aren’t rushing to his defense with these videos, and that was true before the election. It’s nice of BT to take some time off from posting at Infowars and Breitbart and share his all caps wisdom here. How was the rally with Richard Spencer in DC? Good times? Get a new hood?

  52. AG says:

    Virginia post #45, I don’t blame the fake news sites, I blame the people too lazy to realize it’s fake news. When half our country actually thought Palin said “I can see Russia from my backyard” and would get their news from the Daily Show, this is just an evolution for the same lazy and uninformed populace.

  53. AG says:

    Tom D post #46, it is interesting you think people have library cards, debit cards, or employer ID’s when all of those things require an ID that would also qualify as a voter ID.

    I’ve said it before, will say it again… almost everyone who complains about voter ID is only worried about the vote they can get from the poor, and not about the poor themselves. If they did, they’d instead be highly supportive of a system that gives out free ID’s and helps them get it if the proper documents are not available.

  54. happyjack27 says:

    “’ve said it before, will say it again… almost everyone who complains about voter ID is only worried about the vote they can get from the poor, and not about the poor themselves. ”

    When they talk about vote suppression, they are not talking about feeding the poor. Things they are also not talking about:
    * world piece
    * football
    * the last episode of the walking dead
    to name just a few.

    “If they did, they’d instead be highly supportive of a system that gives out free ID’s and helps them get it if the proper documents are not available.”

    a) this does not follow
    b) nobody is against such a system
    c) this doesn’t speak at all to the suppressive effects of what we have now.
    d) oh yeah, i recall hearing about – was it walker? – proposing this, but with one modification: you couldn’t vote with that id. you could get a bank account…. but you couldn’t vote. would you consider that more confusing and thus suppressive of the vote, or, you know, an aid to help make voting more accessible? do you think that demonstrates walker being supportive of accessibility to the polls?

  55. Vincent Hanna says:

    “When half our country actually thought Palin said “I can see Russia from my backyard” and would get their news from the Daily Show, this is just an evolution for the same lazy and uninformed populace.”

    The problem with this claim is that viewers of The Daily Show were some of the most informed people in the country (along with NPR listeners). You should have identified Fox News or MSNBC viewers as the least informed if you want to make an accurate claim.

  56. AG says:

    Since not having an ID is one of the biggest barriers to getting out of poverty, we are indeed talking about this subject.

    It’s unfortunate you feel the need to parse individual words instead of actually have a conversation. Please disprove my statement that the poor can get free ID’s and disprove that the state will give a voter ID even if you’re missing documents (especially now that they recognized and are addressing the DMV information issues).

    Then again, I doubt you are capable of having an actual conversation, so keep living in your bubble HappyJack. I think you get more jollies out of tearing apart quickly typed comments than actually understanding what others are saying.

  57. AG says:

    Wait… Vincent… what?! Are you defending the people that used the Daily Show as their primary news source? Just to clarify, I’m talking about the show that bills itself as “better than being informed” as their slogan.

  58. Vincent Hanna says:

    I said people who watch The Daily Show are among the most informed people in the nation. I did not say that people should use it as their primary news source. Reading comprehension is fun. It’s funny that to showcase how uninformed people are you point to a show primarily watched by liberals when Fox News viewers are the least informed people in the United States and in reality viewers of The Daily Show are very informed. Shows your bias doesn’t it.

  59. happyjack27 says:

    We are not talking about poverty, AG. We are talking about vote supression. Your rhetorical tactic was classic Red-herring and falls under the broader category of fallacies of irrelevance. No amount of helping poor people get out of poverty or not helping poor people get out of poverty will affect whether or not current voter id laws suppress the vote. It is not logically related to the topic.

    No amount of additional rhetoric – that includes insulting people (Ad hominem abusive) – is going to change any of that.

  60. AG says:

    We’re talking Voter ID laws. One of the benefits of the voter ID law is the positive effect it has on the poor who currently lack ID. I’m sorry that doesn’t fit with the narrative you desire.

  61. happyjack27 says:

    We’re talking about the election process and the right to vote.

    Nothing to do with “narratives”. It’s just staying on the topic of discussion.

    A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

    Topic A is under discussion.
    Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
    Topic A is abandoned.
    This sort of “reasoning” is fallacious because merely changing the topic of discussion hardly counts as an argument against a claim.

  62. Tom D says:

    AG (post 51), having an ID like a library card, employer ID or debit card does not require ever having a photo ID. (While you need a photo ID to get some of these IDs, you never need an ID to keep one you already have—and photo IDs weren’t needed for any of these until a few years ago).

    Let’s look at each ID in turn.

    Library cards
    MPL (Milwaukee Public Library) does not require a photo ID. A Social Security card together with a current utility bill or apartment lease is enough.

    Even if MPL started requiring photo ID starting today, its existing cardholders would never need a photo ID.

    Employer IDs
    Today one does need a photo ID to get a job, but nobody needs an ID to keep one. Until the mid-1980s, no ID (much less a photo ID—Social Security cards were fine) was required for employment, and it wasn’t until much later that photoIDs (like drivers licenses) became required for new employment.

    Anybody who’s been employed (at the same place) for about 15 years or more has never needed a photo ID for that job since IDs have never been required to keep an existing job.

    Debit cards
    Since 2003, you’ve needed a photo ID to open a new banking relationship (your first account at a given bank), but you don’t need one to get a debit card on an existing account or even to open a second account at that bank.

    Anybody who opened an account before mid-2003 can continue banking at that bank without ever having had a photo ID. This includes the ability to open new accounts and get new debit cards. In the case of a bank merger, this ability carries over to the merged bank.

    Older people (anybody who hasn’t changed banks or jobs since about 2003 and who doesn’t drive) can easily function (and even flourish) in our society without a photo ID.

  63. AG says:

    Vincent, I wasn’t referring to all Daily Show viewers, I was referring to the ones who use it to get their news rather than actual news channels/shows. Reading comprehension is fun. And yes, I did purposely pick examples of the left because… well, why not?

  64. happyjack27 says:

    I thought I made it clear that no amount of rhetoric will change that fact. I even explicitly mentioned ad hominem fallacy – though perhaps i should have mentioned the circumstantial form instead of the abusive form.

    A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy in which one attempts to attack a claim by asserting that the person making the claim is making it simply out of self interest. In some cases, this fallacy involves substituting an attack on a person’s circumstances (such as the person’s religion, political affiliation, ethnic background, etc.). The fallacy has the following forms:

    Person A makes claim X.
    Person B asserts that A makes claim X because it is in A’s interest to claim X.
    Therefore claim X is false.
    Person A makes claim X.
    Person B makes an attack on A’s circumstances.
    Therefore X is false.
    A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy because a person’s interests and circumstances have no bearing on the truth or falsity of the claim being made. While a person’s interests will provide them with motives to support certain claims, the claims stand or fall on their own. It is also the case that a person’s circumstances (religion, political affiliation, etc.) do not affect the truth or falsity of the claim. This is made quite clear by the following example: “Bill claims that 1+1=2. But he is a Republican, so his claim is false.”

    There are times when it is prudent to suspicious of a person’s claims, such as when it is evident that the claims are being biased by the person’s interests. For example, if a tobacco company representative claims that tobacco does not cause cancer, it would be prudent to not simply accept the claim. This is because the person has a motivation to make the claim, whether it is true or not. However, the mere fact that the person has a motivation to make the claim does not make it false. For example, suppose a parent tells her son that sticking a fork in a light socket would be dangerous. Simply because she has a motivation to say this obviously does not make her claim false.

    (from: )

  65. Vincent Hanna says:

    Ha OK now you’re splitting hairs AG. I know why you did, and it’s not surprising. It’s par for the course with you.

  66. AG says:

    Oh ok, Happyjack. Your discussions about the electoral college and Jeff Sessions are close enough to Voter ID and “suppression” that they are approved topics. However, when I point out that most people only care about ID’s when it concerns democrats getting votes but otherwise turn a blind eye to the positive effects it can have outside of voting, that’s too far outside the discussion. Got it, as the great moderator of UrbanMilwaukee, I’ll just check with you first next time.

    My point still stands… I wish more people actually cared about helping people who lack ID rather than just whether their candidate can get that persons vote or not.

    To Tom D’s point, some people can operate in society without an ID… as long as they’ve held a long term steady job (or don’t need to work) or don’t need to open a new bank account. Unfortunately, if you’re in poverty you may likely not be part of either of those groups. (Tom, your point on library cards was correct, I retract my earlier inclusion thereof)

  67. happyjack27 says:

    No need to check with me AG, just check whether it’s logically related to the topic under discussion or not.

  68. AG says:

    Sorry Vincent, HappyJack is rubbing off on me.

    Seriously though, reread what I was saying. I wasn’t talking all Daily Show viewers, because then i would have included myself. I was referring to the % that use it to get their news and see it as a trusted news source. That baffles me. Similarly, I don’t believe that all SNL viewers actually think it was Palin that said she could see Russia from her backyard. But unfortunately, there are people who really think she said this.

    I’m guessing the same people that fall into the above categories are also falling for the fake stories. I’m sure there are conservative examples, but I wanted to bring up those two. Overall, I am disappointed in our country and how many of us lack an understanding of current events and politics… regardless of political spectrum.

  69. happyjack27 says:

    “My point still stands… I wish more people actually cared about helping people who lack ID rather than just whether their candidate can get that persons vote or not.”

    No, that point does not stand. Because this is not about “whether their candidate can get that persons vote or not.”, – NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THAT – it’s about making voting accessible to EVERYONE, regardless of who they vote for.

    Your argument here is a straw man argument and thus the point does NOT stand.

  70. AG says:

    No HappyJack, I’m pretty sure we all recognize that it’s almost exclusively Democrats worrying about Democrat votes… unless they’re actually not even worried about the votes themselves and instead use this topic as a rallying cry to the Democrat cause. That second part actually might even be the bigger reason behind the “voter suppression” talking points.

    The amount of resources being used to fight voter ID makes no sense for the small numbers it actually affects. Resources would be FAR better used to educate people on requirements and to assist them in meeting those requirements. If Citizens United and others actually cared for the people, they’d be helping to educate them and providing resources to assist them in obtaining ID’s, not spending all their time and money fighting a losing battle.

    The numbers speak for themselves… far more people don’t vote because they are confused or ignorant of the voter ID laws and very few (I haven’t seen any) legit cases where someone who actually follows the steps couldn’t obtain an ID.

  71. happyjack27 says:

    “Your discussions about the electoral college and Jeff Sessions are close enough to Voter ID and “suppression” that they are approved topics.”

    Firstly, if this was analgous – which it is not – you’d be making an ad hominem tu quoue fallacy (“at the person – you as well”)

    Secondly, consider:

    a) what was the topic under discussion on that thread?
    (answer: in the first case, the electoral college, in the second case, Jeff Sessions)
    b) who introduced those topics?
    (answer: NOT ME)
    c) what argument or claim about that topic was i trying to distract from when i introduced that topic?
    (answer: refer to the above: I didn’t introduce that topic. (shorter answer: NONE))

    So, clearly not Red Herrings.

  72. happyjack27 says:

    “No HappyJack, I’m pretty sure we all recognize that it’s almost exclusively Democrats worrying about Democrat votes… unless they’re actually not even worried about the votes themselves and instead use this topic as a rallying cry to the Democrat cause. That second part actually might even be the bigger reason behind the “voter suppression” talking points.”

    okay,now you’re doing ad hominem circumstantial and appeal to motive again.

    Do you have ANY valid points?

  73. AG says:

    Ha, I just had a vision of HappyJack’s childhood:

    Parent: HappyJack, you need to go take a bath.

    HappyJack: Why?

    Parent: Because you need one.

    HappyJack: That is a logical fallacy of begging the question. Your argument is not valid.

    Parent: Do it now, I’m the parent so I know what is good for you.

    HappyJack: Another fallacy, this time argument from authority.

    Parent then gives up trying to tell HappyJack what to do, HappyJack thinks he won, but in the end HappyJack still stinks.

  74. happyjack27 says:

    And that one’s ad hominem abusive. (Coupled with a flawed understanding of a number of fallacies.)

    Which is a fallacy of irrelevance – you failed to deal with any of the issues you brought up.

    In psychology they call this deflection.

  75. happyjack27 says:

    ” you failed to deal with any of the issues you brought up.” = you failed to deal with any of the issues I brought up.”

    + or accept that your arguments were flawed and move on.

    Like I said, Deflection.

  76. happyjack27 says:

    Let me try this w/out the link (i admit my impatience). A brief explanation of “Deflection”:

    4. Deflection – Changing the subject to avoid dealing with something painful, distressing or anxiety-producing. The person who deflects will attempt to protect his ego by redirecting attention to another person, place, thing or circumstance. This is often noticed in arguments when one person responds to an accusation or complaint by pointing to a time when the other person did something equally undesirable.

    That’s from “20 Ego Defense Mechanisms That Can Screw Up Your Life”. A list of well known (among psychologists, at least) unhealthy ego defense mechanisms. That should be a red flag.

  77. Andrey Radak says:

    Someone asked for one case of a dead person voting in the last 40 years…

    Dozens of dead people voting in Colorado:

  78. happyjack27 says:

    Going to do some set logic to help clarify the relations here.

    Bear with me — unable to do charts in comments, so had to do it long form (making a truth table).

    First, abbreviations:

    WH0: world hunger and poverty not solved
    WH1: world hunger and poverty solved

    ID0: one of certain forms of photo id not required to vote
    ID1: one of certain forms of photo id required to vote

    TU0: turnout not suppressed due to photo id requirement
    TU1: turnout suppressed due to photo id requirement

    VF0: a handful of voter fraud cases ever documented
    VF1: more than a handful of voter fraud cases ever documented

    So, the value of the 4 binary variables, followed by whether the set has any members.
    notice we’re looking at every combination here:

    WH0 ID0 TU0 VF0 x
    WH0 ID0 TU0 VF1
    WH0 ID0 TU1 VF0
    WH0 ID0 TU1 VF1

    WH0 ID1 TU0 VF0
    WH0 ID1 TU0 VF1
    WH0 ID1 TU1 VF0 x
    WH0 ID1 TU1 VF1

    WH1 ID0 TU0 VF0 x
    WH1 ID0 TU0 VF1
    WH1 ID0 TU1 VF0
    WH1 ID0 TU1 VF1

    WH1 ID1 TU0 VF0
    WH1 ID1 TU0 VF1
    WH1 ID1 TU1 VF0 x
    WH1 ID1 TU1 VF1

    Notice the value of WH (0 or 1) never affects the result, so it can be removed as an irrelevant variable, leaving only:

    ID0 TU0 VF0 x
    ID0 TU0 VF1
    ID0 TU1 VF0
    ID0 TU1 VF1

    ID1 TU0 VF0
    ID1 TU0 VF1
    ID1 TU1 VF0 x
    ID1 TU1 VF1

    notice also that all sets with VH1 are empty sets. (regardless of any other variables, only a handful of voter fraud cases have beend documented)
    So we can just say

    VF=0. definitively.

    Now we can drop all the “VF1″ lines, leaving”

    ID0 TU0 VF0 x
    ID0 TU1 VF0
    ID1 TU0 VF0
    ID1 TU1 VF0 x

    And we see our “none”s are always IDTU.

    In sum, we see that the set is non-empty IF AND ONLY IF:

    VF=0 AND ID=TU.

    And this is not affected by whether or not world hunger is solved.

  79. happyjack27 says:

    it dropped all the greater than and less than signs, thinking it was html tags.

    ID not equal to TU.

    and before each x was “some”, where there wasn’t an x it was “none”.

  80. happyjack27 says:

    oh, and i forgot to name the dependant and independant variables:

    WH and ID were independant variables (meaning all combinations were assumed to be non-empty sets), TU and VF were dependant variables.

  81. happyjack27 says:

    Andrey: nice find!

    I don’t see where they say dozens. I saw 2 examples. It sounds like it is dozens, just saying i didn’t see them state how many.

    This is a common problem in computer science: variations on spellings and typos. variations tend to be the exception rather than the rule – matching rules would catch on the order of 99% – but that leaves 1%, which is still a sizeable chunk.

    Still, if you had a 99% chance of getting caught, i can’t imagine anyone would consider those good odds.

    Though i guess they don’t actually “catch” you, they just say “you’re not on the voter roll for this precinct”.

  82. happyjack27 says:

    I found a number:

    ‘Colorado investigating potential fraud after news report of “dead voters”
    Four dead voters cast ballots in Colorado, an investigation finds.’

    So it was 4.

    The article says that they have now purged an additional 78 dead voters from the rolls that were on the rolls at the time of election (having slipped through the (fat-finger) cracks.)

    Compare that with the infamous Florida voter purge of 2004, which in all probability decided the presidential election:

  83. happyjack27 says:

    So in Colorado, only 4 dead people voted. I’d say that’s a pretty bad turnout rate, especially when you consider that dead people outnumber the living by like 30-to-1.

    Where was the GOTV effort? Now I see why politicians just ignore that demographic.

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