90-year-old veteran Leo Olson was blocked from voting because his Veterans Identification Card was deemed unacceptable as proof of his identity.
Olson, a Wisconsin veteran of the battle of Iwo Jima, was denied his vote for the state’s Supreme Court primary election. Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who happens to be the niece of Olson, wrote a letter to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker regarding the incident.
“It makes no sense to me that this proud patriot with a veterans card displaying his photo would be turned away from the polls and denied the right to vote,” she wrote. “He considers voting part of his patriotic duty, yet, last week this proud patriot of 90 years of age was embarrassed and confused when he went to the polls and was denied his right to vote. When he presented his veterans administration card with his picture on it, he was told that the card was not listed as ‘acceptable’ proof of his identity. He responded: ‘You mean veterans can’t vote?’”
The denial of Olson’s vote comes as the conservative governor takes advantage of a law that allows for the prohibition of certain citizens from voting. In 2013, the United States Supreme Court nullified certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This allowed states to issue voter identification laws.
Notably, the Court’s decision has disproportionately stopped black people and Latinos from voting in Wisconsin. Since they are more likely to live in poverty than white people, they are less likely to possess state-issued identification, which is now needed in order to vote. The identification law is meant to prevent voter impersonation, which has been found to be almost nonexistent in Wisconsin anyway. Therefore, the law has only blocked minorities from voting, which the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was supposed to prevent in the first place.
Featured image by Michael Vadon, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.