A federal judge in Milwaukee strikes down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, saying it unfairly puts a burden on poor and minority voters.
Under Act 23, in order to vote, a person must present one of nine forms of photo ID to prove his or her identity. US District Judge Lynn Adelman says that’s a violation of the Voting Rights Act and the US Constitution. He says the burdens imposed by Act 23 fall primarily on otherwise eligible voters who do not currently possess a photo ID.
Supporters of the law argue a voter ID requirement would reduce voter fraud and increase public confidence in the integrity of elections. In his ruling, Adelman says photo ID requirements have no effect on confidence or trust in the electoral process.
State Attorney General JB Van Hollen vows to appeal the ruling. “I am disappointed with the order and continue to believe Wisconsin’s law is constitutional. We will appeal.”
Governor Scott Walker hasn’t yet reacted on the decision. He had previously said that he would call a special session of the legislature if the law he signed in 2011 was overturned. There are two separate challenges from the League of Women Voters and the NAACP’s Milwaukee branch pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
“From our standpoint this looks pretty strong,” said Jay Heck with Common Cause Wisconsin. “I expect that we’ll see another attempt to impose some sort of voter photo ID law before the November elections. But certainly for time being it’s good to see justice prevail.”
Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) released the following statement:
“While I disagree with the decision, I am not surprised as we knew it was a possibility. That’s why this session Assembly Republicans approved another version of Voter ID that we believe will withstand any court challenge.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has said Voter ID is constitutional. We look forward to working with the governor and our colleagues in the Senate to do whatever it takes to ensure Voter ID is in place as quickly as possible.
“The integrity of our elections is too important to be caught up in the courts. Voter ID should be law in Wisconsin.”