REJECTED: Federal judge strikes down state’s Voter ID Law

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MILWAUKEE (WITI/AP) — A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's "Voter Identification Law," saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued his long-awaited decision Tuesday, April 29th. It invalidates Wisconsin's law.

It's a judgement that brought praise from the law's most vocal critic: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

"My view is I want people who are legitimate voters to have the right to vote without unnecessary impediments," Mayor Barrett said.

Wisconsin's law would have required voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls. Supporters said it would cut down on voter fraud and boost public confidence in the integrity of the election process.

Leading Republicans, like Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch argue the law has merit.

Democratic critics said the law was designed to suppress the vote among minorities, who largely vote democratic.

Adelman sided with opponents, who said it disproportionately excluded poor and minority voters because they're less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them.

"I think both the federal and the state courts have recognized that what was going on here was an attempt to discourage people from voting," Mayor Barrett said.

Wisconsin's law was passed in 2011, and was only in effect for a 2012 primary before a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional.

The ACLU was among the groups and individuals who sued to have the law overturned.

ACLU spokesman Dale Ho says Adelman fairly interpreted the evidence and his organization feels "vindicated" by the judge's decision.

The fight is far from over, as the state's Supreme Court is set to decide a separate case within the coming months.

"I think this is another step in the process.  I don't think it's the final step. What it does do is raise questions as to whether it is possible to have a voter ID law in place for the November elections," Mayor Barrett said.

The state will likely appeal the decision handed down on Tuesday.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Walker's office issued this statement: "We believe the Voter ID Law is constitutional and will ultimately be upheld. We're reviewing the decision for any potential action."

Gov. Walker has said he could call the state's Legislature into a special session to re-write the law to address judicial concerns.

23 comments

  • sully

    I’m poor, I better not have to show an id to buy my gun, beer, cigs, and so on. The naacp’s guidelines are as follows…. the NAACP is holding a rally to protest that state’s new voter identification law, but participants are being advised to bring photo identification.

  • Jessica

    This is BS. If you have an address and recieve mail, you can get an ID to vote. Lame excuses to stop things from getting better due to people’s laziness.

  • Rob S.

    If you don’t have one, you can get an ID for free. Let me repeat that…. YOU CAN GET AN ID FOR FREE. Tell me again how this can burden the poor or minorities?

  • Steven

    total BS who doesnt have an ID and the only reason one would want to vote NO on this is to cheat the system foe more DEM votes…period

  • cynic

    No, it disproportionately excludes OUT OF STATE voters who come up here to vote. Look at the other states who recently released reports of the tens of thousands of people who voted in multiple bordering states. That’s the problem voter ID can fix.

    This is just more soft bigotry of low expectations. They believe poor minorities are just too stupid and lazy to get ID’s (and jobs, healthcare, childcare, cars, houses, cell phones, electricity, etc.), so let’s corrupt the entire voting process for everyone else.

    • cynic

      Just clarify my point again for any minorities reading this decision. This judge ruled that you are incompetent. This judge ruled that you are lazy. This judge ruled that you can barely function in daily life. This judge ruled that because the party that supports him wants to win elections they will bus in people from other states to vote for them, and you are simply being used as a convenient excuse to make it easier for them to do so.

      You should be furious.

  • Jr

    Come on people. How can anyone be surprised by this decision. This judge had to take the next case, a 10th time DUI suspect. Gonna throw the book at him/her too, 60 days in jail then probation. Judges are scum of the earth

  • Jim Ribnek

    So if they can’t ask for an ID for voting because it’s protected by the 15th Amendment, that should also mean the ATF and local officials shouldn’t be able to demand you have an ID to buy a gun or ammo or demand you attend any classes for conceal carry. That right is protected under the 2nd Amendment.

  • Ed Zachary

    Bottom line: The State could not produce evidence of ONE case of voter impersonation. How can a law “cut down on” crimes not committed?

  • Robin

    Do you remember that Judge Lynn Adelman was a former Wisconsin Assemblyman? He came to my home campaigning in Waukesha years ago. Not the sharpest tack, but if I was a Democrat politician he would be the the judge I would want to rule on this.

  • Mike

    Absolutely ridiculous. Poor people can use their food card and welfare benefits. Don’t they have to show ID to use these? Poor people buy liquor and smokes. No need for ID for this. Poor people can’t manage to get their state issued I.D. but they can manage to get wherever the freebies are being given out. And by the way don’t you need a drivers license to drive a car to get those freebies?

  • tookie joe

    When they re-write the law in the up-coming legislative session, they should put in it that any poor minority can get a “free” ride to the courthouse by any Wisconsin law enforcement officer to secure a “free” voter id card. They are already familiar with the rear seats in police cruisers!

  • Boogie

    All these comments about minorities are no different than the clippers owner sterling comments racism will never die

    • Zina

      I agree Boogie! These comments are so outlandish. People tend to forget that many of the poor are working class. Hell, I work to do provide everything for my kid and I. I get no foodstamps or free cell phones or any of the ish that these commenters are claiming “poor” people received, yet, I’m still poor and would not want any of the so-called freebies. But lest we forget, the majority of individuals that receive welfare are White women.

      • cynic

        I’m blasting the judge for feeding into the very stereotype you mentioned. I don’t think all poor people and minorities are helpless and need handouts. But the judge ruled otherwise. Instead of holding everyone to the same standard of integrity, he decided that because a few people whined about showing ID, that now none of us (or the out of staters) will have to either. I’m glad you work for everything you have. Unfortunately the hard workers are the ones who get screwed the most by liberal-progressive policies.

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