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.