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Wisconsin Wins Bid to Enforce Voter ID Rule in November

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 08:29 PM

Wisconsin can enforce its voter photo-identification law in the Nov. 4 election after a U.S. appeals court agreed that changes by the state reduce the likelihood it will put low-income voters at a disadvantage.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago said today that the state would likely win its challenge to an April decision by a lower-court judge in Milwaukee who had blocked the law. The earlier ruling found that the law places an unfair burden on people who are unable to pay for the documents needed to obtain a government-issued ID.

“Today’s decision is a victory for common sense, fair elections and the right of every eligible voter to cast a vote that will count,” Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.

Republican Governor Scott Walker signed the provision into law in 2011. A potential 2016 contender for the Republican presidential nomination, he is locked in a tight race for re- election against Democratic challenger Mary Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive.

Opponents of the Wisconsin law and others like it say they are meant to dissuade poor and minority voters who are likely to vote for Democrats from going to the polls. In Texas, a trial over that state’s voter ID law is under way in Corpus Christi.

Supreme Court

After the federal district judge’s April decision invalidating the Wisconsin law, the state Supreme Court upheld the statute in a pair of July rulings, one of which required the motor vehicle department to aid the poor in obtaining the required IDs.

“This reduces the likelihood of irreparable injury” to voters, the appeals court said today.

The appeals court only lifted the district judge’s order blocking the state from enforcing the law. It didn’t decide whether to overturn the decision that the law is unconstitutional.

Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, which sued to invalidate the law, called today’s ruling “irresponsible.”

“The state has not demonstrated it is prepared to make this new ID scheme work,” he said in a statement. The law “will cause chaos and disruption for voters and election workers” in November, he said.

Wisconsin has more than 3.3 million registered voters, according to the state’s Government Accountability Board. More than 90 percent of them have the required identification, the state said in a court filing. There are 300,000 who don’t have it, according to an opposing filing by the ACLU.

The cases are Frank v. Walker, 14-2058, and League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger, 14-2059, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).


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Wisconsin can enforce its voter photo-identification law in the Nov. 4 election after a U.S. appeals court agreed that changes by the state reduce the likelihood it will put low-income voters at a disadvantage. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago said today that the state...
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2014-29-12
Friday, 12 Sep 2014 08:29 PM
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