The state Department of Justice is no longer pursuing an effort to restore a Wisconsin law that requires voters to show a government-issued photo identification to obtain a ballot, before the November 4th election.
After the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order putting the law back on hold earlier this month, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had said he would explore alternatives to address the high court’s concerns so the requirement could be reinstated for the November 4 elections. Van Hollen did not indicate he hoped to accomplish that goal.
On Monday, DOJ spokeswoman Dana Brueck said they now do not expect to have the law restored before the election, although she declined to say what alternatives the agency had explored. In an email, Brueck said that the fact that the requirement will not be in effect is “unfortunate as it is a constitutional piece of common sense legislation that is overwhelmingly supported by the people of Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin’s voter ID law has been the subject of a long legal battle since it was first enacted by Republicans in 2011. It was only in effect for a single primary election in early 2012, before a Dane County judge put it on hold. Further state and federal court challenges have kept it tied up since then, until an appeals court ordered it put back in effect in early September. State and local election officials had been working to educate voters about the requirement, prior to the Supreme Court’s order earlier this month putting the law on hold again.
A federal appeals court earlier this month did rule that the law is constitutional. The case is currently being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.