A federal appeals court may hold off on releasing nearly three dozen sealed documents tied to a secret investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, according to a lawyer representing groups which want the documents made public. A coalition of media and open government advocates had asked the court to release sealed documents in the case. The court had planned to release 34 sealed documents Tuesday. But that did not happen, and media and open government coalition’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr., said in an email to The Associated Press that the court is likely waiting for him to file a response to Monday’s motions. He said he has 10 days to submit something but planned to file a response on Wednesday.
Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.
A federal judge has denied the state’s request for a hold on his decision striking down Wisconsin’s law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had made two different requests to halt the decision during the appeals process. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman denied the first of those Wednesday, leaving in place the decision that he had made in April to strike down the voter ID law for violating voters’ constitutional rights. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the other stay request made by Van Hollen, who is seeking to reinstate the law in time for the Nov. 4 election.
Voters will not have to show photo identification to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s primary election, but poll watchers say they’re still concerned there could be confusion thanks to a recent state Supreme Court ruling that the photo ID law is constitutional. The court’s decision didn’t reinstate the law because the photo ID requirement was previously blocked in federal court. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to get that ruling put on hold in time for the November general election. The opposing legal views create confusion, especially for voters who aren’t paying close attention or may be misinformed, said Larry Dupuis, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin. The biggest concern is that someone without an ID may assume they can’t vote, so they won’t show up, Dupuis said.
Wisconsin’s attorney general asked a federal appeals court to revive the state’s suspended voter identification law in time for the November elections. The law, which requires would-be voters to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot, was blocked in an April ruling by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee. He concluded after a trial that the measure illegally makes it more difficult for minority voters to cast ballots. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, in his request filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, cited two rulings handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week, upholding the measure enacted by Republican Governor Scott Walker in 2011.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court stirred some confusion last week, with its Voter ID ruling. It indicates that the DMV must set the standards for obtaining free identification. The high court upheld the state law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. But the court added – that the law cannot require people to spend money, to obtain the necessary documents. The document some justices seemed to have in mind, when considering Wisconsin’s Voter ID law, is birth certificates. They can cost $20 or more, and people may need them in order to obtain government identification to vote. The court apparently thought the Voter ID law would then amount to a poll tax, so it implemented what’s called a ‘saving construction’ to keep the law constitutional. Justices left it up to the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles to decide how to accommodate people who can’t obtain a free birth certificate. That’s where confusion and perhaps long lines, enter the picture, according to UW-Madison Political Scientist Barry Burden.
creating confusion and may even open the door to the very type of behavior Republican lawmakers were trying to prevent. Policy makers, attorneys and voter ID experts were struggling Friday with how to interpret a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling from a day earlier, which mandated a change to the law in order to make it constitutional. The court said the state can’t require applicants for state-issued IDs to present government documents that cost money to obtain, such as a copy of a birth certificate. The court left it to the Division of Motor Vehicles to come up with a solution. “We don’t know how that’s going to work,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday shortly after the ruling. When asked whether obtaining photo IDs without having to present government-issued documents verifying a person’s identity could result in fraud, Vos said: “It’s got a potential for it.”
A divided state Supreme Court on Thursday tweaked a provision of Wisconsin’s voter ID law to put it in keeping with the state constitution, making it easier for people to get identification cards without having to pay along the way. Despite Thursday’s rulings in two challenges of the law, the requirement to show photo identification at the polls remains blocked because a federal judge in April found Wisconsin’s voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act. That decision is now under review by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who defended the law, said he believed Thursday’s rulings strengthened his hand in the federal litigation and he would use them to try to reinstate the voter ID requirement in time for the Nov. 4 election. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in two cases, upholding the voter ID law 4-3 in one and 5-2 in the other. In one case, the court majority crafted a “saving construction” of the voter ID law to keep it from being unconstitutional. That was aimed at preventing the state from requiring voters to pay any government fees to get a state-issued ID card.
The Justice Department on Wednesday sided with challengers of voting laws in Wisconsin and Ohio, saying in court filings that measures in those states unfairly affect minority voters. The department criticized a Wisconsin law that requires voters to present photo identification at the polls and an Ohio law that limits when voters can cast an early ballot. The court papers from the federal government are aimed at persuading judges that the laws, which are being challenged in court, are discriminatory and block access to the ballot box. “These filings are necessary to confront the pernicious measures in Wisconsin and Ohio that would impose significant barriers to the most basic right of our democracy,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. The Justice Department has warned of legal actions against states after the U.S. Supreme Court last year wiped out a major provision of the Voting Rights Act. That provision required select states with a history of discrimination in voting — mainly in the South — to receive Washington’s approval before changing the way they hold elections. Last year, the department sued Texas and North Carolina over measures in those states. But the government didn’t use that approach in either Ohio or Wisconsin, instead submitting court filings joining with challengers who want the measures declared invalid.
Wisconsin: Voting rights advocate on Supreme Court voter ID ruling: ‘We feel we have already won’ | The Cap Times
With the Wisconsin Supreme Court set to release decisions Thursday on cases challenging the state’s voter ID law that was filed nearly three years ago, the executive director of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters said, in many ways, “we feel we have already won.” The law that requires voters to show a picture ID prior to voting was passed in May of 2011. That October, the league became the first of four organizations to file a lawsuit. The law, which quickly became the most restrictive of its kind in the country when it passed, was in place for one election cycle in February 2012. It was subsequently blocked under a Dane County Circuit Court ruling issued by Judge Richard Niess in March of 2012. For the next seven elections, voters did not have to show their ID’s, said Andrea Kaminski, the league’s executive director.
Early voting begins Monday in city clerks’ offices across Wisconsin. Voters who can’t make it to the polls on Election Day will be able to cast ballots during the two weeks prior to the August 12 primary. It’s the first election since Republicans who control the state legislature put limits on the process. Under the changes, in-person absentee voting can only be conducted during the two business weeks prior to an election. Voting is limited to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with no weekend hours allowed. Supporters say the changes create a uniform process, while opponents argued the limits pose a challenge in large cities such as Milwaukee. … [S]everal activist groups remain upset about the changes to early voting, and are weighing whether to take action. Scot Ross, Executive Director of One Wisconsin Now, believes the changes amount to a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise certain voters.