A Federal Court Panel Restores Wisconsin’s Voter ID Requirement

BCN posted about recent court rulings that blocked state voter ID laws and other measures intended to protect the integrity of the voting process.

The courts blocked laws in North Carolina, North Dakota, and Texas. A judge in Kansas ruled that the state must count upcoming votes from people who didn’t prove citizenship when they registered.

A district court issued an injunction last month to block a voter ID law in Wisconsin that would have allowed people with no government-issued form of photo identification to vote if they swore they couldn’t easily obtain one.

But a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit blocked the injunction on Wednesday while the case is on appeal. From the opinion, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (emphasis added):

“Our most recent decision in this case concluded that anyone who is eligible to vote in Wisconsin, but cannot obtain a qualifying photo ID with reasonable effort, is entitled to an accommodation that will permit him or her to cast a ballot. But instead of attempting to identify these voters, or to identify the kinds of situations in which the state’s procedures fall short, the district court issued an injunction that permits any registered voter to declare by affidavit that reasonable effort would not produce a photo ID — even if the voter has never tried to secure one.

Who are these residents who don’t have a driver’s license or other government ID and don’t want to go to the DMV and get one?

“Because the district court has not attempted to distinguish genuine difficulties of the kind our opinion mentioned, or any other variety of substantial obstacle to voting, from any given voter’s unwillingness to make the effort that the Supreme Court has held that a state can require, there is a substantial likelihood that the injunction will be reversed on appeal.”

Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement that the photo ID requirement is a reasonable measure to protect against fraud, and the panel’s decision was a “step in the right direction.”

“The decision recognized that [the lower court’s] previous ruling is likely to be reversed in light of Supreme Court precedent and would create more uncertainty for voters. Voters in Wisconsin support voter ID, and our administration will continue to work to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that a photo ID requirement for voting was not unconstitutional or unreasonable.

Photo credit: justgrimes (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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