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As Officials Weigh Impact of Photo ID, GOP Congressman Reignites Debate

Rachel Morello
Voters at a polling place in Glendale Tuesday.

Tuesday's election was the first big test of Wisconsin's photo ID requirement. Neil Albrecht of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission says the rule caught some people by surprise.

"We certainly had a number of voters -- probably several hundred -- turn out, without the photo ID. Fortunately, most of them were able to retrieve it, you know, just by going home and coming back with the photo ID," Albrecht says.

Those who fought for the photo ID law say it will prevent fraud at the polls. Opponents argue the rule will prevent certain people from voting. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Wisconsin's law; however, the justices may rule on a similar one in Texas.

While the debate continues, a Wisconsin congressman has added fuel to the fire. Freshman U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is making waves for his comments on election night. A Channel 4 reporter asked the Republican whether Ted Cruz or Donald Trump could win in Wisconsin in November.

Grothman said he thinks the party’s nominee will have a shot here, because he says Hillary Clinton is a "weak" candidate. Then Grothman added that GOP chances may be buoyed by the state's voter ID requirement. "And now we have photo ID, and I think photo ID is going to make a little bit of a difference, as well," he said.

Grothman's comments have drawn fire from many, including Martha Laning. She heads the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Laning says what Grothman said was "shameful" and "un-American." Yet she says, he's being honest about the impact of the voter ID law.

"The Republicans did this for the main purpose of preventing people from getting their voices heard," Laning says. People -- she says -- such as minorities and poor individuals, who are likely to support Democrats.

Ann-Elise is WUWM's news director.
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