September 7, 2011

Wisconsin: Harder to vote than be a rapist

The following is an exchange between James Freimuth, an assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Shirley Abrahamson, the Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. They are discussing what counts as "[t]he address at which the person is or will be residing" for purposes of the State sex offender registry in the case of State v. Willliam Dinkins, Sr. Dinkins was convicted of first degree sexual assault of a child in 1999 and then convicted in 2008 of failure to provide sex offender information upon his release from prison.

The Department of Justice argues that a park bench is a residence:
AAG: Black's Law Dictionary defines residence in part as, quote, 'the place where one actually lives, as distinguished from a domicile. Residence usually just means bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place,' unquote. Also the word address ...

CJ: Those are the definitions you want? For 'reside'?

AAG: Uh, right. I think, well ...

CJ: Temporary. Actually lives.

AAG: Correct.

CJ: So, park bench okay?

AAG: Yes.

CJ: Grate outside the State Capitol okay?

AAG: Yes. Any location that's reportable to the Department of Corrections.
For comparison, see Wis. Stat. § 6.34(3)(a) for the documentation required to prove residency for the purposes of voting in Wisconsin. So there you have it. According to J.B. Van Hollen's Department of Justice, it's easier to register as a sex offender than it is to vote in an election.

And, with the State's new photo ID law, Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans who control the legislative branch just made it even harder.

Harder to exercise what is, according to the conservative Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack, a fundamental right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

eta: "[Y]ou should refrain from offering the free version to customers who do not ask for it." Wouldn't want to make it any easier to vote.



Unknown said...

Sensing a loophole... if they won't let you vote because of residency issues, just... rape the ballot? Tie the pencil to your genitals, and forcibly sexually mark the candidates you like?

William Tyroler said...

If the comparison of sex offender registration to voter ID isn't brilliant it's awfully close.

illusory tenant said...

Ha. I was joking earlier that the DOJ was going to argue that park benches and heating grates were residences -- but I didn't really expect them to seriously do it. It took the Chief about a minute to nail them down on that one.