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Voter ID Laws in Wisconsin, Texas Blocked by Supreme Court, Fed. Judge

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 01:00 PM

Voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas were halted this week — one by the U.S. Supreme Court and one by a federal judge — in separate rulings ahead of the November midterm elections.

The Supreme Court voted 6-3 Thursday to block Wisconsin's voter identification law, which was revived by a lower court Sept. 12. The justices in the majority sided with representatives from various civil rights groups, who argued that implementing the law would cause confusion because there is not enough time to properly train poll workers and educate voters, Bloomberg reported.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito dissented in the Wisconsin decision.

"[The ruling] puts the brakes on the last-minute disruption and voter chaos created by this law," Dale Ho, director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project, told The Associated Press, adding that the legislation would have created an obstacle for the thousands that already mailed in their absentee allots that had no mention of a photo ID requirement.

In Texas, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos — a 2011 appointee of Democratic President Barack Obama — said the state's new voter ID law had "draconian voting requirements" that would impact poor and minority voters disproportionately, according to Bloomberg.

"We are extremely heartened by the court's decision, which affirms our position that the Texas voter identification law unfairly and unnecessarily restricts access to the franchise," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in statement released Thursday.

"This ruling is an important vindication of those efforts. We are also pleased that the Supreme Court has refused to allow Wisconsin to implement its own restrictive voter identification law," he continued.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is running for governor against Democratic challenger Wendy Davis, said through a spokeswoman that Ramos' ruling would be immediately appealed and that the law was necessary to prevent voter fraud, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

"The State of Texas will immediately appeal and will urge the Fifth [U.S.] Circuit [Court of Appeals] to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election," Lauren Bean, Abbott's spokeswoman, said. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal."

Bloomberg said Wisconsin's voter ID law was first passed in 2011 and would have been used for the first time in this election, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker is in a close race with neophyte Democratic challenger Mary Burke.

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Voter ID laws in Wisconsin and Texas were halted this week — one by the U.S. Supreme Court and one by a federal judge — in separate rulings ahead of the November midterm elections.
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2014-00-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 01:00 PM
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