Civil rights groups are asking Wisconsin’s Supreme Court to reject a state law requiring would- be voters to present photo identification before they can cast a ballot.
Lawyers for the groups and the state are arguing the case before Wisconsin’s seven-member Supreme Court, which is reviewing two cases challenging the requirement at a hearing today in Madison, the state capital.
Gov. Scott Walker signed the measure into law three years ago, calling it “common sense reform” that would help protect the integrity of the election process. The League of Women Voters disagreed, suing to block enforcement. The Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP also sued.
Fourteen states have laws requiring some form of photo identification to vote, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. In six of those states, including Georgia and Indiana, a voter can’t cast a valid ballot without photo ID, according to the conference.
Wisconsin is one of five states where such laws either haven’t yet been implemented or are in various stages of litigation. Opponents claim the measures are intended to suppress the votes of lower-income people and the elderly, who may be more inclined to vote for Democrats.
While the NAACP in Wisconsin won a 2012 trial ruling that the photo-ID requirement was invalid, the league’s victory in a separate case was reversed by the mid-level state Court of Appeals. The league wants the Supreme Court to restore the trial court’s ruling that the measure unconstitutionally interferes with voter rights.
The high court decided in November that the NAACP case should skip the intermediate appellate court that overturned the League of Women Voters ruling. Walker’s administration has asked the court to undo the decision that the law is invalid.
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