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Wisconsin Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Unconstitutional

In the first significant legal test of the state’s restrictive voter ID law, Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan called it the “single most restrictive voter eligibility law” and in violation of the state’s Constitution.

Judge Flanagan pointed to studies finding that there were more than 200,000 Wisconsin residents who lacked a state-issued photo ID but were otherwise eligible to vote. The new law requires those who lack government photo ID to spend money to obtain the necessary documents, like birth certificates, and Flanagan ruled that such a requirement was unnecessarily burdensome to the elderly and disabled.

Furthermore, the ID requirement fell disproportionately on elderly people, people of color and the poor whit very little evidence to back up the purported state interest of policing voters to prevent fraudulent voting or voter impersonation.

This is a crucial decision for several reasons. First, the voter ID law will not be in effect for the state’s upcoming presidential primary and recall elections. Second, the Wisconsin Constitution explicitly grants the right to vote to all residents 18 or older and places no restrictions on exercising that right. Judge Flanagan’s ruling frames the issue in terms of voter eligibility requirements and holds there is no way to square the inflexible nature of voter ID requirements with the state’s express voting rights.

Finally, several states have passed or are trying to pass copycat versions of voter ID and a strong, definitive ruling based on state law is helpful  given the difficult federal precedent voter ID opponents have to contend with.

Related Stories:

Everything You Need To Know About Voter ID Requirements In Your State

ACLU Sues Over Wisconsin Voter ID Law

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Photo from kaylan via flickr.

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62 comments

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1:02PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

Wow

1:39AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

The Koch Bros.'s puppets here in Harrisburg just rammed the same thing through in Pennsylvania, which, in the 2008 Presidential election, had a whopping 4 documented cases of voter fraud.

12:31AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

It is unconstitutional - may these laws be discarded wherever they have reared their ugly heads!

10:12AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

It's just another attempt to keep the poorest US citizens who are disproportionately minorities from casting their votes. Voting might be a piviledge, but it's a priviledge of citizenship NOT of class or race.

6:48AM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

Hooray!!

8:42PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

Disabled people often don't have driver's licenses, or any way to get to the DMV to get a photo ID. I don't know what DMVs are like in your state, but here in VA- pack a lunch. Neither of the two offices in my area are on bus routes.

Trying to prevent college students from voting is really despicable- why are the GOP so afraid of the votes of people who are actually studying economics and political science?

6:44PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

You people who Insist we all should have IDs to vote, answer me this:

What's the Hurry?

All of the sudden, 34 states with 34 Republican Governors are trying to ram through Voter ID laws and get them all approved by THIS November.

Why are they doing this? Do they think that Voter ID Fraud is such an epidemic that everyone has to have picture IDs?

I would like someone here who advocates for Voter ID laws to explain what is the big hurry, and to give at least 3 Examples of people being convicted in a court of law for Deliberately Committing Voter Fraud.

Just saying that Voter Fraud is rampant and people must have IDs to vote means absolutely Nothing.

Either give 3 Examples of successful Voter Fraud cases and explain Why people Must have IDs in order to vote, even if they've lived in the same city, same state and they have voted in the past election or go visit foxnews.com and you'll find a support group for your bias.

2:42PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Oh Charles..........what BS............to have a say in the decisions and laws of the United States of American there needs to be some checking out...you have you head up where the sun don't shine!!

2:40PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

The only ones who should be allowed to vote are those already on/in the books as CITIZENS. Why should some illegal, who just as well might be a drug dealer from Mexico, be allowed to vote. With the way things are going with all kinds crossing our borders illegally there has to be some proof of citizenship........tough stuff if you can't get yourself busy and finding the proper papers etc. etc..... ELSE our country will be run by crooks and illegals who only have their own welfare in mind.........

2:12PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

Some think that the election could be decided by Hispanics. If all the illegals have to do is show up and follow the Spanish language signs, that should be pretty much of a sure thing. This is what happens when you get enough members of a group that means to push its agenda on a country. Are we getting ready for Sharia law yet, folks ?

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