Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin voter ID law

MILWAUKEE Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:26pm EDT

Polling equipment is set and ready at a local polling station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 5, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

Polling equipment is set and ready at a local polling station in Milwaukee, Wisconsin November 5, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Hauck

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MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin's voter identification law places an unnecessary burden on poor and minority voters and must be struck down, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

The Wisconsin ruling was the latest victory for opponents of voter ID laws that generally require residents to present a government-issued photo identification before casting ballots.

The laws have become a political and racial flashpoint across the United States, with Democrats generally opposed and many Republicans backing them.

A judge in Arkansas last week declared that state's new voter identification law unconstitutional and a Pennsylvania judge in January struck down that state's voter ID law.

Minorities in Wisconsin are disproportionately more likely to live in poverty and those who live in poverty are less likely to drive or participate in other activities such as banking and traveling, in which a photo ID is required, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote.

"Thus, we find that blacks and Latinos are less likely than whites to obtain a photo ID in the ordinary course of their lives and are more likely to be without one," Adelman wrote.

Penda Hair, a director at the Advancement Project organization that helped bring the federal lawsuits, said the judge's ruling would help ensure an equal opportunity to vote for all Wisconsin residents.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he was disappointed by the ruling and planned to appeal.

Republican Governor Scott Walker's spokeswoman, Laurel Patrick, said the governor believed the law would ultimately be upheld on appeal. Walker is running for re-election this year.

Wisconsin's state Supreme Court heard oral arguments earlier this year regarding the constitutionality of the law. The law has not been enforced since a state judge in 2012 ruled it was unconstitutional.

"This decision further enjoined enforcement of it but as to what it means in the future, I don't know," said Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Nearly three dozen U.S. states have voter identification measures, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Gunna Dickson and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (22)
SunnyDaySam wrote:
uh oh, the Koch/GOP voter suppression is failing. Oh no!

Apr 29, 2014 3:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
unionwv wrote:
“Minorities in Wisconsin are disproportionately likely to live in poverty and those who live in poverty are less likely to drive or participate in other activities such as banking and traveling, in which a photo ID is required, Adelman wrote in his ruling.”

But these same minorities may also disproportionately fail to follow the law.

Accordingly, it is reasonable to suggest that the judge thinks more of minority status per se than he does of the integrity of the voting process in America.

Apr 29, 2014 3:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
@unionWv, ‘the integrity of the voting process in America’, Please, there is NO threat to this…

Just google it and learn the facts for yourself, but here is one link for you…
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/voter-fraud-real-rare/story?id=17213376

from that link…’Out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud, according to a Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing. Only 26 of those cases, or about .00000013 percent of the votes cast, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas.’

so in your world .00000013 percent fraud rate is ‘losing the integrity of the elections? Laughable!

Apr 29, 2014 3:54pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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