The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] on Thursday appealed two decisions by the Dane County Circuit Court [official website] blocking Wisconsin's new voter identification law [Wisconsin Act 23]. The DOJ filed on behalf of the defendants in NAACP v. Walker and League of Women Voters v. Walker [opinions, PDF]. Judge Richard Neiss refused to lift [JURIST report] the injunction on Tuesday after the DOJ requested that the law be enforced while an appeal is pending. Neiss previously held [JURIST report] that the new law is unconstitutional because it impermissibly eliminates the right of suffrage for constitutionally qualified voters. This holding followed a temporary injunction [JURIST report] of the Wisconsin law by Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan who said that the law was more restrictive than similar laws that have been upheld in other states.
Since Wisconsin's voter ID [JURIST news archives] law was first introduced, there have been four challenges to it, with Thursday's appeal focusing on two of them. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Wisconsin and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty [advocacy websites] filed a federal lawsuit in December, as did the Advancement Project [JURIST reports] in February. There are now 31 US states [NCSL backgrounder] that require voters to present some form of ID at the polls, including 15 states that require photo ID, but the issue remains controversial.