Wisconsin AG Makes Bid |to Save Voter ID law

     MADISON, Wis. (CN) —Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general is fighting to save the state voter ID law a federal judge called “a cure worse than the disease.”
     Claiming the state will probably succeed on appeal, Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office has asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson not to throw the law out until the Seventh Circuit rules on the case.
     In making its case, the state Department of Justice points to the potential consequences of throwing out the law now, less than 100 days from the November election.
     “Issuing a stay now will give the appellate courts an opportunity to clarify election requirements before public funds are spent, with sufficient time to ensure that the public is adequately—and correctly—informed of the applicable requirements,” according to a brief signed by Assistant Attorney General S. Michael Murphy.
     Peterson’s ruling, filed Friday, strikes down restrictions on early voting hours, the elimination of weekend voting, and restrictions on the use of student IDs for voting.
     The 2011 law, passed following the election Republican Gov. Scott Walker, requires voters to show photo identification at the polls. It was in effect during April’s primary election.
     Voters have been fighting the law for years, arguing that people who cannot obtain an Act 23-qualifying ID with reasonable effort are entitled to relief.
     U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled in a separate case on July 19 that Wisconsin must let such voters execute an affidavit to receive a ballot.
     Peterson attacked the state for specifically targeting black voters in Milwaukee with no legitimate purpose, and called the attempt at providing state-issued IDs to people with difficulties obtaining the usual documents “pretty much a disaster.”
     “It disenfranchised about 100 qualified electors—the vast majority of whom were African American or Latino—who should have been given IDs to vote in the April 2016 primary,” Peterson wrote.
     “Friday’s decision was a huge victory for Wisconsin voters and we are committed to fully protecting the right to vote from partisan politicians like Gov. Walker,” said Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, in a statement.
     The plaintiffs in the case, despite declaring victory, were the first to appeal the decision, though it is unclear exactly why. An email requesting clarification from Mike Browne with One Wisconsin Institute was not immediately answered.
     The plaintiffs have until Aug. 9 to formally oppose the stay, and the defendants have until Aug. 10 to reply. Peterson said in the online court record that he does not guarantee a decision by Aug. 11, but that he will rule “promptly” on the stay.

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