ACLU Sues Over Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Wisconsin has not only taken the lead in efforts to restrict the rights of working class families, it has also taken the lead in efforts to restrict the voting rights of all Wisconsinites with a tough voter ID law.

That law imposes fees on individuals with out-of-state drivers licenses and discriminates against the poor, students and the elderly and is now being challenged in a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The lawsuit challenges the law as one that “imposes a severe and undue burden on the fundamental right to vote under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution; violates the Twenty-Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution as an unconstitutional poll tax; and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in arbitrarily refusing to accept certain identification documents.”

The plaintiffs in the case are 17 voters and range from an 84-year-old woman without a certified birth certificate to a 52-year-old homeless Army veteran to a 20-year old without a Social Security card. They represent each affected group of citizens who will be effectively disenfranchised through this new bill. That disenfranchisement comes in a variety of ways, through forcing individuals to choose between “surrendering their driving privileges to obtain a free Wisconsin state ID card, paying a fee for a Wisconsin driver’s license, or losing their right to vote.”

The lawsuit comes at an interesting time in election law. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised a thorough investigation by the Department of Justice into these kinds of disenfranchisement bills. Meanwhile the Supreme Court is set to weigh in on redistricting challenges which many voting rights advocates consider the second prong in the right’s coordinated assault on voting rights.


Related Stories:

SCOTUS To Weigh In On Texas Redistricting

Ohio Set To Reject Anti-Voter Bill


Photo from hjl via flickr.

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Debra Griffin
Debra B.3 years ago


New G.
New G.3 years ago

Thank you.

Jane H.
Jane H.3 years ago

Hooray for the ACLU! I'm a card carrying member and proud of it!

Chad A.
Chad Anderson3 years ago

Why shouldn't the state be responsible for giving everyone state I.D.s and making sure that everyone is registered. Shouldn't people in any sort of state government database be registered automatically, with the state then taking the effort to weed out redundencies and errors instead of demanding that the poor and the weak have to go through extraordinary efforts to exercise fundamental rights?

Janet K.
Janet K.3 years ago

I guess we all know who is behind this.

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

And, they don't send voter information or absentee ballots to people who are not registered. So if you are a registered voter your signature has to match your registration form. Very simple.

Frances C.
Frances C.3 years ago

Joan E. post @8:34am is right on. We have always voted without showing an I.D. our name and signature is on the books from when we registered. They have done studies on voter fraud. There was almost none. This is just another ploy to deny the vote to people who would probably vote Democratic. Voting is a right and a privilege and the Republicans should be ashamed. We want all the people to vote, not just Republicans.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

well if the star is doing nothing wrong then the ACLU will be proven wrong won't it.

Jason Shepard
Past Member 3 years ago

Anyone who is against a Voter ID law: Carrying ID is standard practice in this nation. Even if you don't drive, you can carry a State ID that contains the same information, but doesn't give you the ability to drive. If you're in an accident, it provides information on who you are. If you ever leave the country, you have to have a passport which requires ID. Many people have to show ID to buy cigarettes or alcohol. Even my bank requires ID to cash a check until they know you by sight.

There are entirely too many time that ID is needed and/or required to not carry ID in this day and age by default. It's ludicrous that we should continue to allow voter fraud (and, YES, voter fraud exists as has been proven in other threads like this one) just because a few people in our society don't want the "hassle" of getting ID. Good grief.

Barbara S.

If a person was born "at home" or has never before had to show I.D. to vote, is disabled, retired, or presently unemployed, the State should provide the necessary documents to allow that citizen to exercise his/her right to vote, free of charge. It's to the States' advantage to have all citizens cast a ballot.