A court puts the brakes on the controversial voter ID law.
A Dane County judge orders the state to stop the enforcement of the new voting law that requires photo identification at the polls. That means voters won’t need to show a photo ID for the spring elections. Attorney Richard Saks calls this temporary injunction a huge victory. “This is a tremendous victory for voting rights throughout the state of Wisconsin and especially for the several hundred thousand voters who lack the photo ID that’s required under Act 23.”
In his 11-page decision, Judge David Flanagan wrote that the NAACP Milwaukee Chapter and Voces de la Frontera, an immigration rights group, have demonstrated a likelihood they will succeed on the merits of their suit filed last year against Governor Walker and the Government Accountability Board. Flanagan said there’s a probability of irreparable harm if the requirement remains in place. Saks represents the NAACP in this case. “Yes, he found that we had a reasonable probability of success on the merits.”
Governor Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie says, “Requiring photo identification to vote is common sense” in ensuring the integrity of elections. He says, “We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID.”
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate says, “Wisconsin law should focus on increasing voter participation, not diminishing it.”
Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesperson Dana Brueck says, “We’re reviewing the ruling and will likely pursue an appeal.”
In a statement GAB Director Kevin Kennedy responded to Judge Flanagan’s order to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements.” Kennedy said they will do just that, “We will communicate with local election officials and the public about the impact of this order.” They will consult with the Attorney General’s office on a possible appeal of the ruling. Kennedy advises voters that other key provisions remain in effect, including the requirement for 28 consecutive days of residency to vote.
The state’s new voter ID law took effect in February.
Meanwhile, new information shows Judge Flanagan signed a recall petition against Governor Walker, and Flanagan’s wife was the recall circulator. The state GOP now says Flanagan should have recused himself from the case.
Flanagan was appointed to his position in the fall of 1999 by Governor Tommy Thompson.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:58