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Former Republican staffer says GOP lawmakers were “giddy” while crafting voter ID law

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MILWAUKEE -- A top staffer to a former Republican state senator says other GOP lawmakers were "giddy" while crafting Wisconsin's controversial voter ID law, believing the new requirements it created would help Republicans win elections.

Todd Allbaugh, the chief of staff for former Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, made the accusation in a Facebook post on Tuesday. It related to a closed-door Republican caucus meeting in 2011.

A handful of Republican senators expressed happiness that the legislation would suppress the turnout among minority and youth voters.

"I'll never forget the day," Allbaugh said. "I thought 'My God, here we are, elected officials, thinking about trying to suppress the voter turnout.' And that disturbed me."

Another Republican senator who was also in the caucus meeting said lawmakers were not laughing, but focused on stopping voter fraud.

After the 2011 meeting, Allbaugh said he decided to stop associating with the Republican Party. He now owns a coffee shop on Madison's west side.

Miguel Vega

Miguel Vega

Allbaugh said he decided to "vent" frustration on Facebook after one of his employees was unable to vote in Wisconsin's presidential primary this week because he didn't have a state-approved photo ID.

Michael Vega, 22, moved from California to Madison last year. He said he had been excited to cast his first vote in Wisconsin for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"I could've gotten a copy of my birth certificate, but then by the time I would've received it, it would've been too late," Vega said. "I felt really disappointed and let down."

State Sen. Van Wanggaard was in the same caucus meetings but remembered them differently than Allbaugh.

Todd Allbaugh

Todd Allbaugh

"I never heard anybody laughing about anything," Wanggaard said. "People were so intense on making sure that nobody would be disenfranchised, trying to figure out any unintended consequences and eliminate them beforehand."

The law has been successful at improving voters' confidence that Wisconsin elections are limited to one vote per person, Wanggaard said.

Allbaugh declined to publicly name the senators he was referring to, but said Wanggaard wasn't one of them.

"I have no recorded proof. I have no proof that anybody said anything -- so if I start naming names, they'll simply just say, 'No I didn't say that,'" Allbaugh said.

Allbaugh's Facebook post came hours before U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said that the voter ID requirement would help Republicans win elections in November.

On Thursday, Grothman clarified that the voter ID law was never about suppressing votes. But, to Democrats, his comments confirmed long-held suspicions that Republicans intended to make it difficult for some Democratic constituencies to vote.

Grothman would have been in the GOP caucus meetings as a state senator in 2011. He won election to Congress in 2014.

Schultz, Allbaugh's former boss, decided not to run for re-election in 2014.

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9 comments

  • Jack

    Allbaugh is a person who I wouldn’t hire as he seems untrustworthy. Has no proof to what he says and is unhappy because him and his buddies will only be able to vote once.. The other guy has had how long to get his ID and can’t get it at the last minute. Allbaugh go pound sand!

    • Jeff Wagner

      Wow. You just make up lies and think people will believe you. Well, they may. They elected Bradley even though she’s a Walker toadie and completely unqualified to be a SC justice. This guy doesn’t need any more proof than what he heard and saw while he was there. He has no reason to lie about it. You, however, who are probably one of Walker’s donors who want all the goodies he’s given you, have a lot of reason to lie.

  • Erik

    “I have no recorded proof. I have no proof that anybody said anything — so if I start naming names, they’ll simply just say, ‘No I didn’t say that,'” Allbaugh said.

    So lets take his word for it. Figures this guy worked for rhino Dale Schultz.

    • Jeff Wagner

      Dale Schultz was the only honest Republican in the WI senate. That’s why he had to quit. I used to be a Republican, too, when the party was comprised of honest lawmakers. They’ve put WI at the bottom for wage growth and near the bottom for job creation since Walker was elected. Trump is right, Walker has done a lot of harm here, and his cronies allowed it to happen by passing the bills he wanted to please his rich backers. If anyone who earns under $200,000 a year votes red, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. And anyone who values our clean air and water should be up in arms against the bills they’ve passed to get rid of protections for them. And local control – they say they’re for it, then vote against it every time. They’re liars and toadies for their rich donors. That’s why I vote blue now. At least they vote for our interests and not just those of the rich.

  • Chris C.

    Wanggaard said[,] “People were so intense on making sure that nobody would be disenfranchised, trying to figure out any unintended consequences and eliminate them beforehand.”

    Well, according to some estimates, about 300,000 people were disenfranchised by this law, roughly 5% of the total state population of Wisconsin and over 12% of the number of people who actually voted in the last mid-term election.

    I await the admission by the Republicans of Wisconsin about what a horrible mistake they made, how much worse this turned out than they expected despite their best intentions, and that they will repeal this law poshaste before the November general election. Especially since the “voter fraud” they say they want to prevent doesn’t actually happen.

    That’s what they’d do if Wanggaard were telling the truth. I’m not holding my breath.

  • Blue Cool

    The law works as republicans had hoped, to keep certain groups of people from voting. It’s immoral, thievery and plain disgusting. I am so disgusted with the republican party, they should be ashamed, instead they bask in their own _____.

    • Erik

      Both Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela were strong supporters of voter ID. Were they out to suppress Democrat votes?

Comments are closed.