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Wisconsin appeals court declines to lift injunction against state voter ID law

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals for District II on Wednesday declined [order, PDF] to hear a request to overturn a temporary injunction against the state's controversial voter ID law [Wisconsin Act 23; JURIST news archive], which requires that all voters present a form of photo identification at the polls. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker [official website] and the other named defendants in NAACP v. Walker [case materials] sought leave to appeal the injunction issued on March 6 [JURIST report] by Dane County Circuit Court [official website] Judge David Flanagan, who said that the Wisconsin law was more restrictive than similar laws that have been upheld in other states. The temporary injunction blocks enforcement of the law while Flanagan considers the case, on which he is expected to rule in late June [AP report] at the earliest. The suit was originally filed in December by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), who argue that voter fraud is not widespread and that Wisconsin's law may disenfranchise minority voters.

Last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court [official website] dismissed [JURIST report] its review of NAACP and another challenge to Act 23, League of Women Voters v. Walker [case materials], leaving the state appellate courts to decide whether to lift the injunctions currently in effect against the law. The Wisconsin Courts of Appeal for District II and District IV [certifications, PDFs] had sent the cases directly to the Supreme Court last month, stating the importance of deciding the issue before the upcoming May 8 primary elections, but the state Supreme Court declined to rule. Earlier in March, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Neiss blocked the voter ID law, calling it unconstitutional, and ordered a permanent injunction [JURIST report] pending appeal. 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, and the issue remains controversial.

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