Voter ID May Make A Comeback In Wisconsin

As the midterm elections draw closer, Wisconsin state attorneys are asking a federal appeals court to strike down a judicial block on voter ID laws, Bloomberg reports.

Originally signed in 2011 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the bill mandates that voters present government-issued ID before being able to take part in elections.

However, in April of this year, the law was hampered after a Milwaukee federal court ruled that it harmed the prospects of black and Latino voters, who may be unable to access the necessary identification.

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“Virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin and it is exceedingly unlikely that voter impersonation will become a problem in the foreseeable future,” said U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in April.

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But the ban may soon be overturned if Wisconsin attorneys are successful in presenting their arguments Friday before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago. According to the lawyers, the Wisconsin Supreme Court allowed for the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue voter identification for those who cannot afford the regular charges, which they argue evades objections of voter suppression.

For state Supreme Court Justice Patience Drake Roggensack, the lack of evidence for voter fraud in Wisconsin “cannot overcome the state’s interest in preventing voter fraud.” The new procedure will come into effect on September 15. However, opposing groups like ACLU still maintain that because there is little to no evidence of voter fraud in the U.S. and specifically none recently in Wisconsin, these rules are best explained by attempts to maintain discrimination against minorities. The ACLU maintains that 300,000 voters out of 3.3 million in Wisconsin currently lack identification.

Daniel Tokaji, a professor at Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law in Columbus, pointed out that both sides may be slightly off the mark. “The actual effects on turnout may not be as great as some Democrats fear and some Republicans undoubtedly hope,” Tokaji said. “A lot of people who do not have ID are not voters. They may be eligible to vote but they are not voters.”


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