-By Eric Kleefeld
February 22, 2012- Tuesday was the official launch of Wisconsin’s new Voter-I.D. law, with citizens now required to present a photo-identification card in order to cast a ballot in the primaries for local elections. And as it turns out, one man refused to vote, because he was so angry that his card from the Department of Veterans Affairs was not on the approved list.
As the Racine Journal Times reported, 69-year old veteran Gil Paar was shocked when poll workers told him his photo I.D. from the V.A. wasn’t on the accepted list. They then asked him if he had a driver’s license — which he did — but he instead refused to show it and left the precinct. “Basically I was trying to make a point,” Paar told the paper. “I gave them four years of my life, why shouldn’t I be able to use my vet’s card?”
As the paper reports, the state election officials explain that the way the law was written, a military-related I.D. must be issued by a uniform service — which does not include the Department of Veterans Affairs. The bottom line: For whatever the reason might be, whether intentional or an accident, V.A. cards were not included on the list.
Paar, who described himself to TPM as an “Irish Catholic liberal Democrat” who has donated to President Obama, told us that he too was very surprised at this development.
“I said, lady, this doesn’t make sense,” said Paar, recounting his conversation with the poll worker — who, he says, had to double-check this very matter before she could give him an answer. “It’s issued by the federal government, it’s the Veterans Administration. And she said, I know but we can’t use it. She said, do you have a driver’s license? I said, yes. She said, can you use it? And I said no — I came with the intention of using my veterans I.D.”
Paar has since complained about the matter with the state’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, plus his own local state Rep. Bob Turner (D). “He’s [Turner] a Democrat, he’s a veteran, he’s four years in the Air Force, the same as I am. I know the guy. He calls me back and says, ‘I can’t believe this.’”