When it comes to taking on voter-ID laws, voting-rights advocates are on a winning streak.
A state judge ruled last week against Arkansas’ voter-ID law, which followed related victories in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Texas. Today, proponents of voting rights scored an even bigger victory with success in a Wisconsin federal court.
A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law Tuesday, saying it violated the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.The law had already been blocked by a state judge. To be put back in place, supporters of the voter ID law would have to overturn both the state and federal decisions – a possibility that appears unlikely between now and the Nov. 4 election for governor.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.
Not surprisingly, Wisconsin’s Attorney General, Republican J.B. Van Hollen, has already announced plans to appeal to the 7th Circuit Court.
Note, the judge in this case, a Clinton nominee, based his ruling in part on the Voting Rights Act, but relied on Section 2, which was not gutted as part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last summer.
A key quote: “virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin and it is exceedingly unlikely that voter impersonation will become a problem in Wisconsin in the foreseeable future.”Another quote: “Perhaps the reason why photo ID requirements have no effect on confidence or trust in the electoral process is that such laws undermine the public’s confidence in the electoral process as much as they promote it.”
Note, the ruling comes against the backdrop of ongoing efforts on the part of Wisconsin Republicans to further restrict residents’ voting rights.
Update: Reader P.J. reminds me that a state court in Pennsylvania today announced it will not revisit its decision striking down the state’s voter-ID law.