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Voters head to the polls in Wisconsin for both the Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday. However, the number of those who can participate in the primary might be larger if it were not for Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law.

Dozens of states have passed laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls, but Wisconsin’s voter ID law seems to be leading the pack in its stringency.

Some of the requirements of Wisconsin’s voter ID law include:

  • You must have a state government issued ID
  • A birth certificate is required to obtain a state ID
  • Student IDs are not accepted
  • Early voting eliminated on nights and weekends

During Tuesday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Wisconsin’s state coordinator for VoteRiders, Anita Johnson, spoke to Roland Martin about the state’s restrictive voter ID law and the impact it may have in keeping voters from casting their ballots.

When asked about conditions on the ground and problems she has seen that are a direct result of the law, Johnson said, “People are very confused about the new voter ID law, they don’t know what to bring to the polls.”

“VoteRiders has been able to go and do presentations at churches, food banks, neighborhood clubs, any place where we can get a podium to educate the public about the changes in the voting laws,” said Johnson.

She added, “Not only do we educate the public about the voting laws, we help these people go to the DMV to get a proper ID to vote with.”

“We have over 300,000 people that are registered voters, those people can be affected at the polls today because they do not have the proper ID,” Johnson said.

NewsOne Now panelist Barbara Arnwine, Founding President of the Transformative Justice Coalition, called Wisconsin’s voter ID law “vicious” and said, “people are even so confused that those who have the right ID don’t even know they have it.” 

“It is so bad in Wisconsin that when they passed this law, guess what they did not pass? Any money, any allocation of money to educate the voters about what this new law meant, what was the right ID,” Arnwine said.

She continued, “They wanted this confusion, they wanted people not to be able to exercise their right to vote.”

Dr. Chris Metzler, Political Scientist/President & CEO, FHW Fit, explained he has told the Republican Party, “The demographics are changing; rather than spending time on this nonsense, spend the effort to outreach in a sincere way to the different populations.”

Metzler continued to recap his message to the GOP and their efforts to suppress votes, saying, “You’re not going to win this … It’s hard to rebuild a brand when in fact, what you’re doing is continuing to do more and more damage to the brand.”

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the potential impact Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law may have in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

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