A state law requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls is being challenged in court. The League of Women Voters on Thursday filed a lawsuit in Dane County Court which argues the law is unconstitutional because it creates a new class of people who are not allowed to vote.
League director Andrea Kaminski says lawmakers exceeded their powers in approving the restriction on voters earlier this year. She says the state Constitution limits who can be blocked from voting to supervised felons and individuals ruled incompetent by the courts, and the provision goes beyond that power by stripping people of their vote if they do not have an ID card.
AUDIO: Andrea Kaminski on the lawsuit 1:36
Kaminski says not everyone can easily obtain an ID card. The law allows the state to issue free ID cards to anyone who needs one for voting, but the lawsuit points out that the Department of Transportation is not informing voters they are available unless customers specifically ask about the program. It also notes there are additional costs beyond the ID card, because voters will need documentation such as a birth certificate that may need to be purchased.
The lawsuit also argues reduced hours at DMV service centers and the geographic limitations on those locations mean many people could have a difficult time obtaining an ID card for voting.
In a statement, Governor Scott Walker notes more people in the state have a driver’s license than are registered to vote in Wisconsin. He says the law is a common sense reform, given that people need an ID to get a library card, cold medicine, and public assistance.
Walker says he will continue to implement changes that protect the integrity of elections and voter confidence in their results, and that the photo ID law “moves Wisconsin forward.”
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports 1:09