Second Wisconsin judge finds voter ID law unconstitutional

[JURIST] A judge for Wisconsin's Dane County Circuit Court [official website] ruled [order] Tuesday that the state's voter identification law [text, PDF] is unconstitutional, issuing a permanent injunction against the law's enforcement. Judge David Flanagan is the second Dane County judge to strike down the law, following a similar ruling [JURIST report] by Judge Richard Neiss in March. Flanagan had issued a temporary injunction [JURIST report] shortly before Neiss' ruling. In his order Tuesday, Flanagan wrote that the law creates "substantial impairment of the right to vote" guaranteed by the state's constitution. The suit, originally filed in December by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) [advocacy website], was one of several challenges to the law, including a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Wisconsin and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty [advocacy websites].

There are now 30 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. Earlier this month Michigan Governor Rick Snyder vetoed several measures [JURIST report] that included amendments to the state's election laws. Two of the vetoed bills would have required voters to produce photo identification for absentee voting and to confirm their citizenship before voting and a third would have required voter registration groups to undergo training. In May a coalition of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging Pennsylvania's new voter ID law. In February the Virginia Senate approved a voter ID law [JURIST report]. Also in February South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed suit against the US Department of Justice over its ruling that barred South Carolina [JURIST reports] from enforcing its voter ID law. In November Mississippi voters approved a ballot measure [JURIST report] to implement a voter ID law. Last year Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed [JURIST report] a law requiring persons to present photo ID at voting booth.

 

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