Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Supreme Court declines to hear lawsuit seeking to block John Doe probe | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal seeking to permanently block a secret probe into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign and its dealings with allied groups, ending one line of attack by subjects of the investigation. The high-profile probe remains stalled, however, because of a separate decision last year by a Wisconsin judge that is now being reviewed as part of a trio of cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The state’s high court is expected to decide the cases this summer, which will determine whether the investigation can be revived or must be abandoned for good. The ruling is likely to come just as the Republican governor launches an expected presidential campaign. The U.S. Supreme Court passed on taking the case without any comment, as is its usual practice. Its decision leaves in place an appeals court ruling that dismissed the lawsuit. Read More

Wisconsin: Senate adjusts election recount costs | Madison.com

The state Senate has passed a bill adjusting election recount fees. Currently recounts are free if the margin is less than 10 votes with fewer than 1,000 votes cast or less than half-a-percent in larger elections. Requesters pay $5 per ward if the margin is 10 votes in smaller elections or falls between half-a-percent and 2 percent in bigger contests. Requesters pay full costs if it’s greater than 2 percent. Read More

Wisconsin: State high court quickly ousts Shirley Abrahamson as chief justice | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court picked Justice Patience Roggensack as their new leader Wednesday, dumping longtime Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson after voters approved changing how the head of the court is selected. Four justices on the seven-member court voted to put Roggensack in charge just hours after state election officials certified the April 7 referendum results, allowing court members to choose the chief justice. For the past 126 years, the state constitution had the most senior member of the court serve as chief justice. The vote for Roggensack comes at a time when the court has been roiled by ideological and personal differences, and as Abrahamson has pursued litigation to remain chief justice until her elected term ends in 2019. Read More

Wisconsin: Legal fight over voter IDs in Wisconsin continues | Associated Press

With two special elections looming next month and one to fill a vacancy in the state Senate coming later this year, opponents of Wisconsin’s new voter identification law want a federal court to expand the number of IDs that voters can show at the polls. The legal fight comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court last month rejecting a challenge to the law’s constitutionality. The issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union in the challenge to the law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker in 2011, remain unresolved. Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights project, said Monday that it’s unclear when the legal fight will end. Read More

Wisconsin: ACLU pushes for expansion of acceptable voter ID types | The Badger Herald

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. Read More

Wisconsin: Chief Justice sues to keep her job for four more years | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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. Read More

Wisconsin: Supreme Court Election Raises Concerns About Partisanship | New York Times

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. Read More

Wisconsin: Battle Over Voter Photo ID Law Could Soon Reach an End | WUWM

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. Read More

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. Read More


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. Read More