The state Supreme Court will hear arguments today on a pair of challenges to Wisconsin’s stalled voter ID law. Justices are scheduled to take up a pair of lawsuits filed by the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, which claim the requirement that voters show a state-issued photo ID at the polls is unconstitutional.
The two cases were filed separately, but were consolidated when the high court agreed to hear them. Dane County judges in each of the lawsuits issued rulings that have kept the law from being enforced for more than two years now.
UW-Madison Political Scientist David Canon says the high court will be looking for answers to some important questions about the law. At issue, he says, is whether the law infringes on the right to vote or if it’s a “legitimate state function to try to protect against potential voter fraud.”
Canon says it’s hard to predict how the Supreme Court could rule, noting that challenges of Voter ID laws in other states are running about 50-50. “There is a lot of inconsistency in how courts are ruling,” Canon says, “which to me indicates the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to come back and deal with this again.”
A ruling from the high court could still be months away. Even after it makes a decision, two other lawsuits are still pending in the federal court system.