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Wisconsin appeals court rules voter ID law is constitutional

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals [official website] for the Fourth District ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that Wisconsin Act 23 [text], a law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, is constitutional. The ruling reverses Dane County Circuit [official website] Judge Richard Niess's March 2012 decision, which held [JURIST report] that the law's photo ID requirement would disenfranchise voters who lack the resources to obtain such ID. The law requires [AP report] voters to show either a state-issued ID card, valid driver's license, US passport, a student ID that expires within two years or a military ID.

Voter ID laws [JURIST backgrounder] have become increasingly controversial and commonplace throughout the US. There are now more than 30 US States [NCSL backgrounder] that require voters to present some form of ID at the polls, including multiple states that have passed laws requiring photo ID. In April the Arkansas House of Representatives overrode [JURIST report] Governor Mike Beebe's veto [JURIST report] of a bill requiring voters to provide photo ID in a 52-45 vote, making the bill an official Arkansas law. In March Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law [JURIST report] legislation requiring voters in the state present photo ID prior to voting. Lawyers for Pennsylvania and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania [advocacy website] reached an accord in February extending the temporary injunction [JURIST report] of the Pennsylvania voter ID laws and allowing state residents to vote in the upcoming primary and special elections without submitting ID.

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