U.S. President Barack Obama smiles as he delivers his remarks on manufacturing in the United States during a visit to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 15, 2012.
President Obama visits Wisconsin. (Reuters)
Republican Gov. Scott Walker was handed a second loss in his efforts to deliver the state to Mitt Romney in November. For the second time, a judge has found Wisconsin's new voter ID law violates the state's constitution, and has blocked enforcement of it, effectively barring its implementation before the November election.
Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan wrote Tuesday that the state's requirement that all voters show photo ID at the polls creates a "substantial impairment of the right to vote" guaranteed by the state constitution.

In March, Flanagan issued an injunction temporarily blocking the law because the plaintiffs - the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera - were likely to succeed in their arguments. Flanagan made that injunction permanent in the 20-page decision he issued Tuesday.

The immediate effect of his ruling is limited because another Dane County judge, Richard Niess, permanently blocked the voter ID law in March in a case brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Having a second ruling against the law makes it all the more difficult for voter ID proponents to get the law reinstated because they would need to get both orders lifted.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist, Kenneth Mayer, estimated more than 301,000 Wisconsin residents, 9.3 percent of registered voters there, do not have ID that would allow them to vote. Flanagan found that for those people, mostly low-income, the "cost and the difficulty of obtaining documents necessary to apply for a (Division of Motor Vehicles) photo ID is a substantial burden."

The state's Supreme Court has declined to take on both cases earlier, when the state tried to get them to act before these lower court rulings came down. The court will likely take the cases on eventually, but not in time for this election. That's one battle won on the voter ID front.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Jul 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Daily Kos.

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