The shiny new law has been on hold and now its dead. .pdf is here.
In Tuesday's decision, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee determined the law requiring voters to show one of a narrow set of photo IDs at the polls violated the federal Voting Rights Act and established an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. He issued an injunction barring the law from being enforced.Information in italics is my addition.
State Attorney General (Republican) J.B. Van Hollen, who had defended the law, immediately pledged to take the case to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
"There is no way to determine exactly how many people Act 23 will prevent or deter from voting without considering the individual circumstances of each of the 300,000 plus citizens who lack an ID," U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote. "But no matter how imprecise my estimate may be, it is absolutely clear that Act 23 will prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes."(bolding is mine)
Adelman went on to note that the defendants couldn't point to EVEN ONE instance of voter impersonation in Wisconsin and that future voter impersonation is "exceedingly unlikely". He added that anyone committing voter impersonation would be "insane" because the penalties for such an act (a large fine and up to 3 years in prison) would pale in comparison to the casting of a single ballot.
A spokeswoman for GOP Gov. Scott Walker said his office was reviewing the decision and would respond shortly.A separate state case has been appealed to the RW dominated State Supreme Court, but even if they ride in to rescue Republicans from Democratic voters, the federal decision takes precedence. A federal appeal decision will likely not happen before the November election leaving that election Voter ID-less.
The Voter ID requirement was clearly a GOP scheme to block students, senior citizens, and other likely Democratic voters from exercising their right to vote by imposing what is, essentially, a poll tax. Forcing people to obtain (and pay for) any number of documents needed to obtain a Wisconsin photo ID card as well as arrange transportation to a DMV facility during business hours financially precludes people from obtaining it.
Beyond that, the supposedly "free" voter ID card was very difficult to obtain unless you knew the magic words to say at the DMV office in order to avoid paying for the ID. Most people were told to pony up the money.
Voter ID, however, was only part of the problem with Republican voter suppression efforts. They have continued to pass legislation that made voting conditions worse for those voting in urban areas. 2 years ago they passed a law requiring voters to sign the poll book (which not only made life more difficult for poll workers, but made lines of voters longer) and have gradually reduced early voting. This year they eliminated weekend voting and shortened the early voting period to one week.
Earlier this year, Scott Walker threatened to call a special Legislative session if his Voter ID Law was overturned. I'm not sure what he thinks they can do about it when a Federal Judge says he broke the law, but he's sure going to huff and puff and blow every ones house down.
Yet, this is a victory. Voters won't have to go through heroic efforts to get documents, get themselves to a DMV, and try hard to get the "free" voter ID. They won't be required to present an ID.
Voter fraud is an excuse for voter suppression, not a problem that needs to be solved. It's virtually nonexistent.
It's a good news day.