Following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Wisconsin’s voter ID law, thereby upholding it, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin aims to expand the list of identification acceptable on Election Day. Chris Ahmuty, executive director of ACLU of Wisconsin, said ACLU is focusing on two forms of ID in particular: two-year technical college student IDs and veteran IDs.
Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.
A day after voters approved changing the state constitution to allow members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court to elect their leader, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson on Wednesday sued the six other members of the court to hold onto her job. Supporters of the measure — which passed 53% to 47% — had said it would help heal relations on a court that has been marked by personal and ideological clashes in recent years. Abrahamson, the longest-serving justice in Wisconsin history, filed her lawsuit in federal court in Madison. In it, she contends she should be able to remain chief justice until her term on the court ends in July 2019. If Abrahamson is demoted, “the term of the current, elected chief justice will be disrupted, her constitutionally protected interest in the office of chief justice will be impaired, the votes of her supporters will be diluted and the results of the 2009 election undone long after-the-fact, while the Wisconsin court system’s leadership will become unsettled,” her attorney wrote in the federal lawsuit.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court, defined in recent years by polarization and reports of dysfunction, could be profoundly reshaped by an election on Tuesday. The outcome hinges on two choices — whether voters re-elect a justice who is seen as part of the court’s liberal minority and whether they approve a constitutional amendment that seems likely to lead to the installation of a conservative chief justice. The election is officially nonpartisan, but the ideological divides are clear. Money has poured in from far beyond Wisconsin, and harsh advertisements have filled the airwaves. Donations have poured in, including some from outside Wisconsin, and harsh advertisements have filled the state’s airwaves.
Legal challenges to Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law have been underway for four years. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court might decide whether to rule on the law’s constitutionality. Justices blocked the photo ID law last fall – just weeks before the November election. Now, some organizers wonder if the justices could do an about-face, with only weeks left before next month’s election. “As has often occurred in the past, we find ourselves sort of in this moment of uncertainty – both voters and election administrators,” says Neil Albrecht, the City of Milwaukee’s election commissioner. Like others, he has prepared materials to inform people about the law. Then he put them away, pulled them out, and last fall put them back in storage, as courts changed the status of Wisconsin’s law.
Wisconsin: The Supreme Court’s concerns don’t apply to State’s redistricting bill | Wisconsin State Journal
The nation’s high court sounded skeptical this week about the constitutionality of Arizona’s independent redistricting commission. Good thing Wisconsin didn’t follow Arizona’s model for encouraging fair voting district maps. Instead, Wisconsin’s bipartisan reformers have patterned their good-government redistricting bill on neighboring Iowa. “So we’re safe,” Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, said Thursday. “If anything, it shows we were wise to do this.” The U.S. Supreme Court may strike down Arizona’s independent redistricting commission this summer if justices determine the U.S. Constitution forbids state voters from taking away the power of elected state legislatures to decide how U.S. House members are elected, the Associated Press reported Monday. But the Iowa model, which Wisconsin seeks to mirror, doesn’t do that.
Wisconsin: Audit prompts changes at election agency, officials decry budget cuts | Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin’s election agency moved Wednesday to make a series of changes in response to a state audit, but leaders said that Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget could set the efforts back. “We appreciate the governor’s efforts to streamline the budget, but this could cripple our effectiveness in providing services to voters,” Government Accountability Board director and general counsel Kevin Kennedy told board members. The GAB is one of several state agencies that would see its budget, finance, human resources, payroll, procurement and information technology functions consolidated as part of a pilot program that would be operated by the state Department of Administration.
A broad alliance of civil rights groups representing voters most affected by Wisconsin’s photo ID law pressed the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the measure enacted during Gov. Scott Walker’s first term. The Wisconsin Department of Justice, meanwhile, are asking the high court to reject the appeal. The case, Frank v. Walker, is pending before the Supreme Court, on appeal filed after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the statute last October. After the appellate ruling, challengers secured from the Supreme Court a temporary hold that kept the law from being implemented for the 2014 midterm election. However, the high court has not indicated whether it will hear the case on merit.
Voting rights advocates are hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Wisconsin’s voter ID law, one of the most stringent in the country. “There are a lot of barriers that Wisconsin’s law imposes on voters that have not been resolved,” said attorney Karyn Rotker of the ACLU of Wisconsin, which is among the groups asking the court to review the voter ID law. “We hope that the Supreme Court will make sure that voting rights are protected.” The law, passed in spring 2011 and only in effect during one low-turnout election, has had a tumultuous legal history. As it was challenged in state and federal courts, it was put on hold, then suddenly revived by a federal appeals court just before last November’s general election—and put on hold once again, this time by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Wisconsin: State Department of Justice urges U.S. Supreme Court not to take up voter ID case | Wisconsin State Journal
The state Department of Justice wants the U.S. Supreme Court to stay out of Wisconsin’s controversial voter identification case. In a brief filed Friday, the DOJ argued that there is “no legitimate reason” for the nation’s highest court to revisit the validity of laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The American Civil Liberties Union and others sued in 2011 over Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in May of that year.
When the Salem Town Hall surprisingly ran out of ballots during the busy November 2014 election, voting officials were forced to make hundreds of photocopies and tediously hand count the ballots after the polls closed. Thanks to modern technology, this should never happen again. Voting is now easier, cheaper, safer and more efficient with the recent arrival of the DS200 Precinct scanner and tabulator and the ExpressVote universal voting system, according to Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs. Schuch-Krebs said she’s requested a hardware upgrade since being elected in 2008. “It’s been a long time coming,” Schuch-Krebs said. “I think the voters are going to be really happy with the change.”