In the 21st century, myths are created at the speed of Twitter. A single tweet gave birth to the myth of thousands of voters being turned away in Wisconsin on November 8. The Left is now attempting to nurture that myth and help it grow and thrive.
As Media Trackers reported earlier this month, journalist Dan Arel tweeted on November 9 that 300,000 voters were turned away in Wisconsin because they lacked the proper photo ID to cast their ballots. His source for this claim was an article in “The Nation” that quoted a judge as saying, months earlier, that it’s possible as many as 300,000 people, at that time, lacked the proper ID to vote. As we said then, there is no way of knowing how many of the obtained the proper photo ID to vote before Election Day. In fact, there is no evidence of a single voter being “turned away” in Wisconsin on November 8, if that means they were told to leave without voting because they lacked a photo ID.
Those who couldn’t produce a photo ID were given a provisional ballot to cast. It had to be returned by the Friday after Election Day. Wisconsin Public Radio reports that 618 provisional ballots were issued because of lack of photo ID. Of those only 116 were counted, with most being rejected as “deadline expired.” Clearly this wasn’t enough to impact the result of the presidential race. Yet the liberal group One Wisconsin Now continues to push Arel’s narrative that “thousands were turned away.” In a statement released Monday concerning a recount of the presidential results in Wisconsin, OWN’s Executive Director, Scot Ross, revisited the Photo ID issue and attempted to continue to grow the “thousands turned away” myth:
“Whatever the results of a recount, we know that the final tally won’t include the votes of thousands of legal voters who lacked an ID and were turned away at the polls or simply stayed home because they knew they would be denied their right to vote.”
It is, of course, possible that some voters, after learning they needed a photo ID that they lacked, decided to leave their polling place without taking a provisional ballot. That was their choice and doesn’t constitute being “turned away. And Ross is right that we don’t know how many stayed away from the polls because they lacked an ID and chose not to acquire one. Again, that was a conscience choice; nobody turned them away from anything.
Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested the Wisconsin recount after a group of computer scientists determined that Hillary Clinton received fewer votes in areas of the state where electronic voting systems are used. It’s possible that NOW and other liberal groups eventually will attempt to blame that disparity on Wisconsin’s photo ID law. There are numerous possible reasons why some usually reliable Democratic voters stayed away from the polls; that they were uninspired by their party’s candidate is certainly one possibility.
Irrespective of the Left’s best efforts to perpetuate the myth, there is no evidence to suggest that even a small number of voters, let alone “thousands” were “turned away” from their right to vote in Wisconsin.