Voter Photo ID
Wisconsin’s Photo ID Bill was introduced on January 27, 2011. After 4 months of hearings and debate in the legislature, Governor Walker signed it into law on May 25, 2011. In October 2011, the League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in state court while the NAACP Milwaukee Chapter and Voces de la Frontera also filed a separate lawsuit December 2011 in state court.
At the circuit court level, the courts granted injunctions in both cases. In May 2013, the District IV Court of Appeals reversed the injunction in the League of Women Voters’ case. The League petitioned the state Supreme Court in response. The state Supreme Court heard argument on the other state court action at the same time. On July 31, 2014, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court found the law constitutional in both cases.
Additionally, 2 separate lawsuits were filed in federal court – one by The Advancement Project and the other by the ACLU and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Federal District Court Judge Lynn Adelman in April 2014 ruled the law violated the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
Former Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen appealed Judge Adelman’s decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Following argument on September 12, 2014, the 7th Circuit Court reversed the federal district court’s ruling and declared Wisconsin’s Photo ID law constitutional. A more detailed written decision was entered on October 6, 2014. The plaintiffs sought emergency relief and, on October 9, 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the injunction prior to November’s election.
Almost 4 years after being signed into law, on March 23, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the law’s last challenge. Because absentee ballots for the spring election were mailed prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear any further challenges, Wisconsin’s Photo ID law will not take effect until after the Tuesday April 7, 2015 election.
Ensuring due diligence is met at the polls is imperative to maintain citizens’ confidence in their vote. Wisconsin’s Voter Photo ID law will act as a deterrent against voter fraud which disenfranchises voters and hurts the overall integrity of our elections and democracy.