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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Wisconsin Fights to|Keep Its Voter ID Law

MADISON, Wisc. (CN) - Wisconsin's voter ID law is an "eminently reasonable" regulation that the U.S. Supreme Court should stop blocking, the state says in its latest legal brief.

Frank v. Walker, the flagship voter ID challenge to Wisconsin Act 23, is before the court after it vacated the 7th Circuit stay on a federal injunction before the 2014 election.

The stay was vacated pending a petition for writ of certiorari from the plaintiffs, which they filed on Jan. 7.

"While voter photo ID laws are controversial, they should not be," Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel wrote in a Feb. 6 brief in opposition to the certiorari petition.

"In Wisconsin, as elsewhere, the overwhelming majority of voters already have qualifying ID. For those who lack ID, obtaining one and bringing it to the polling place is generally no more of a burden than the process of voting itself," according to the 33-page brief.

Schimel claims Wisconsin's law is similar to the Indiana law the Supreme Court upheld in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.

"Voter ID protects against fraud and bolsters voter confidence in the election process," Schimel's brief states.

Pending actions in other federal courts of appeal circuits will address the same issues raised in Frank, making the issue unripe for Supreme Court review, Schimel says. He claims that the injunction on which the Supreme Court will rule was granted under different circumstances than exist today.

Wisconsin has since required that photo ID be issued free to any citizen, and cannot require documents for which they have to pay. The state also implemented policies to help voters get identifying documents, according to the brief.

"These so-called 'burdens' drove the district court's decision, but the facts have changed," the brief states.

Clayton Kawski is the counsel of record for the state in Frank v. Walker.

Nationwide, Republican administrations tend to support voter ID laws, claiming they prevent vote fraud. Democratic administrations tend to claim that they are a back-door way to discourage voting by minorities and poor people.

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