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Federal appeals court orders Wisconsin’s voter ID law to be reinstated

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CHICAGO/MILWAUKEE (AP/WITI) — A federal appeals court has reinstated Wisconsin's voter photo identification law.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman struck the law down as unconstitutional in April, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters who may lack such identification. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to overturn that ruling.

The 7th Circuit issued a ruling late Friday afternoon lifting Aldeman's stay and allowing the law to go into effect before the November elections.

State attorneys asked a three-judge 7th Circuit panel during oral arguments on Friday to immediately reinstate the law.

Van Hollen's appeal remains in play, however. The judges say they'll issue a ruling on the merits later.

Here's a look at the forms of ID that are acceptable:

  • Wisconsin driver's license, even if driving privileges are revoked or suspended.
  • Wisconsin identification card issued by the Department of Transportation.
  • Military ID card issued by a U.S. uniformed service.
  • U.S. passport.
  • Certificate of naturalization issued within two years of the election.
  • A driving receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT, which is valid for 60 days.
  • An identification card receipt issued by Wisconsin DOT, which is valid for 60 days.
  • An identification card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin.
  • A photo identification card issued by a Wisconsin accredited university or college that says the date it was issued, bears the student's signature and is good for only two years. Students also must present a separate document that proves enrollment.

In April, the state's voter ID law was ruled unconstitutional, and a stay was issued.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appealed to overturn that ruling. Meanwhile, state attorneys asked a panel of judges to lift the stay, and allow the law to go into effect -- prior to the November elections.

In response to the Director of the Government Accountability Board, Kevin Kennedy issued a statement:

"We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election. We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week."

The judges will determine the merits of attorney general Van Hollen's appeal at a later date, but as of this afternoon Wisconsin voters will need to show a photo ID in order to cast their ballots.

Voter ID opponents are outraged, saying it unnecessarily burdens people lacking birth certificates or proper identification.

"For many voters this requires scores of hours of time and expenditures of money just to navigate your way through the various governmental bureaucracies just to get a voter ID," said Attorney, Richard Saks.

Those in favor of the law say it helps stop voter fraud.

"We don't want to block access to anyone from elections, but what we want to ensure is that anyone who is there to vote, is there legally to vote," said Republican State Senate from River Hills, Alberta Darling.

Something opponents disagree with and vow to continue to fight.

"We believe in voting, and the right to vote and making the vote available to everyone, so we will not be dissuaded from that effort," said Milwaukee NAACP President, James Hall.

While the judge's lifted what is known as a "stay," they did not make a final decision. They say that is coming in the future.

Governor Scott Walker released the following statement in response to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling upholding Wisconsin's voter ID legislation:

"The ruling is a win for the electoral process and voters of Wisconsin. Voter ID is a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process. It's important that voters have confidence in the system. Today's ruling makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

The following statement is from Mary Burke's camp regarding the ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals:

"Mary Burke believes that every eligible voter who wants to cast a ballot, should have the freedom to do so. Today is another reminder of the clear choice in this Election. Governor Walker chooses to play politics on issue after issue, even on the most fundamental freedom of them all, the freedom to cast a ballot. Mary Burke is committed to common sense problem solving and getting results. That's the kind of Governor she'll be, and 53 days from now we're confident that voters will reject Gov. Walker's politics first approach and vote for a new direction with Mary Burke."

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement after today's ruling by the Seventh District Court of Appeals:

"Today's decision is a victory for common sense, fair elections, and the right of every eligible voter to cast a vote that will count. This ruling vindicates the law and our efforts to ensure the policy of this state will be in effect for November's election. My staff and I will work with the Government Accountability Board to ensure every eligible voter will be able to cast a ballot."

Mayor Barrett issued a statement regarding today's decision on voter ID:

"We think this is a step back in time to the era prior to the Voting Rights Act that established fairness in elections.  We continue to advocate with the legislature to encourage voter participation, not discourage it.  There is a disparity in the population that will be most affected---people in poverty, students and seniors.  While it is just 45 days prior to the Election, with an anticipated voter turnout comparable to a presidential election, the City of Milwaukee will be prepared and do everything to ensure its residents still have a smooth voting experience."

Kevin Kennedy, director and general counsel of the Government Accountability Board, issued this statement on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals' order staying the injunction in the Wisconsin voter photo ID case:

“We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November General Election.  We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week.”

Statement from Chris Ahmuty, ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director:

"We are very disappointed in the damaging decision to lift the injunction against Voter ID, which will cause chaos and disruption for voters and elections workers for the November election.  The state has not demonstrated it is prepared to make this new ID scheme work.  The new procedures were presented at the last second and it is unclear whether or how they will work in time to ensure that eligible voters are actually able to vote. It has not demonstrated how it will train 1,852 municipal clerks and tens of thousands of poll workers, as well as notifying voters of the new rules. We will continue to review and closely monitor this decision."

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17 comments

  • Ron

    Instead of a step back this is a giant forward. I’m sure they will still cheat but this makes it more difficult for them.

  • Sheila Moyet

    Every citizen should have an ID card. What’s the big problem? There is always people who want to make a big deal out of nothing. It’s the only way to cut down on illegal voting.

  • Jennifer Osmundson

    If you’re able to get up and vote, legally, then you should be able to get up and go get your FREE ID CARD! Why is this even a discussion! ?

    • WoodU

      We will when righties quit crying about their 2nd amendment rights beiing stomped on if ID were required at a gun show

      • roadkill53129

        This is proof that what the Left cannot legislate, they will litigate. And what they cannot litigate, they will agitate.

        Funny how no one on the Left lost their minds when an ID was required for ANYTHING but voting. Why? Because it disenfranchised THE CHEATERS.

        And that, folks, is the real threat.

    • George

      According to the WI GAB, there have been 20 cases of voter fraud discovered in the last decade, that is in all statewide elections. Shoddy record keeping and counting procedures have created more errors than anything else; 2005 election reforms where implemented to solve that. According to a 2012 Univ. of Chicago study, at least 9% of eligible voters will be effected by a Voter ID law and unable to vote (Walker beat Barrett by 10% in recall election). As of this moment, your post is the only one that states at least a plausible fact, thank you for sharing. I can post my sources if anyone wants to fact check these statements.

      • Gregory Dunkling

        We all understand what this is about. If Republicans cannot win elections, they cheat by creating a fiction around voter fraud, then pass legislation aimed at disenfranchising elderly citizens (move voting precincts around, reduce early voting and Sunday voting), prevent college students from voting, and reduce African American turn-out by relying on forms of IDs (drivers license) that are not as likely with this segment of the voting population. Hopefully voter anger at such tactics will propel a large turn-out to overwhelm the Koch Brother’s money.

  • Chris Multerer

    The First Amendment is a good thing. It allows people like Mary Burke, Tom Barrett, and Chris Ahmuty to make ridiculous, nonsensical, statements. All three have one thing in common. They’re all liberals.

  • big johnson

    voting doesnt matter everyone is pre chosen….so all you idiots go out n vote and really think your changing something…..hahahahha sheeple

  • WoodU

    Voter ID law was a solution in search of a problem, a costly one at that. How many times do people need to be reminded that you need to show ID when you REGISTER to vote. To commit voter fraud without an ID is to impersonate another voter, meaning you would have to know the person’s name, where they live, where they vote, get there before them and risk a jail sentence all in the name of casting a single extra vote. This sort of thing is NOT happening.

  • Reagan 84

    I guess we won’t be seeing all the cars from Illinois parked outside the voting poles like there were in 2012 when they elected Obozo.

  • Gregory Dunkling

    America spends trillions attempting to install democracy around the world only to undermine it right here at home! Where are substantiated cases of voter fraud mentioned above? Wouldn’t Republican officials have prosecuted such fraud cases? And where are these? Nada. Pure fiction.

Comments are closed.