Wisconsin State Employee Fired Over Voter ID Email

He encouraged fellow workers to let public know they can get them for free
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2011 7:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Oh, Wisconsin, again. In the latest adventure, a state employee has been fired because he sent an email to fellow workers encouraging them to tell the public how to get a free photo ID so they can vote, reports the Journal Sentinel. Confused? From the beginning: Republicans put into place a new law that requires people to have a photo ID to vote. Democrats accused them of trying to suppress the vote with a modern version of a poll tax. Republicans denied that by pointing out that the Department of Transportation would provide the photo IDs for free to anyone who needs one.

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But then this only-in-Wisconsin twist: A high-ranking DOT official told staffers to keep the "free" part hush-hush and to charge people $28 unless they specifically asked for a free ID. The Capital Times published that memo this week, prompting new Democratic outrage. The state employee mentioned earlier, Gary Larsen, blasted out an email encouraging fellow state employees to "tell everyone you know" about the free IDs. His supervisors quickly fired him. "It's insane," he said. (A local radio station, WTDY-AM, first reported the news and has an interview with Larsen here.)

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