Wisconsin

Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Reviving voter ID a ‘recipe for chaos,’ advocates warn | MSNBC

Friday’s U.S. court ruling that breathed new life into Wisconsin’s voter ID law is a “recipe for chaos” that will cause “extraordinary disenfranchisement” this fall, voting rights advocates are warning as they push for a rehearing of the case. “If this law is not stopped now from being implemented in November, it will cause irreparable harm to the 300,000 plus voters who lack ID,” John Ulin, a lawyer for Arnold and Porter who represents plaintiffs in the case, told reporters Wednesday. Late Tuesday, challengers to the law filed court documents asking that the full 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals take a second look at Friday’s ruling reinstating the law. That ruling, the brief argues, “imposes a radical, last-minute change to procedures for conducting an election that is already underway.” Friday’s ruling was made by a three-judge panel of the court, all of whom were appointed by Republicans. The strict GOP-backed voter ID law had been on hold since not long after being passed in 2012, and was a struck down in April by a federal district court judge, who ruled that it violated the Voting Rights Act’s ban on racial discrimination in voting. Read More

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Wisconsin: College students facing challenges with Voter ID Law

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire leaders will meet Thursday to discuss the new Voter ID Law and what it means for students who want to vote in November. Following the reinstatement of the Voter ID Law last Friday, UW-Madison announced that it will provide students with separate voter ID cards starting next week. It’s an idea UW-Eau Claire says it will also discuss. Student leaders say it’s already a challenge to get students registered and to the polls to vote, but now with the requirement for a valid photo ID, there may be other hurdles. Jordan Luehmann, a student at UW-Eau Claire, said voting is important because at the end of the day, voting is what makes a difference. “It’s important for the country’s future, it’s important for you now even in college,” said Luehmann. “Even if you don’t like politics, the one thing you should do is vote. I think that’s a powerful thing to do.” Read More

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Wisconsin: Absentee ballots already cast will need photo ID, elections official says | Associated Press

Wisconsin’s top elections official said Tuesday that hundreds of voters who have already cast absentee ballots for the Nov. 4 election must show or send in a photocopy of acceptable photo identification to their local municipal clerk’s office for those ballots to be counted. Also Tuesday, plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged the voter ID requirement said they plan to appeal the ruling by three judges on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to the full court. That ruling on Friday reinstated the voter ID requirement that had been stalled since 2012 by court challenges. “The panel’s decision allowing this law to take effect this close to the election is a recipe for disaster,” said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “It will create chaos in election administration, resulting in voter confusion and disenfranchisement. The voters of Wisconsin deserve a chance to cast their ballots free of these obstacles.”  Kevin Kennedy, director of the state Government Accountability Board, urged absentee voters to send copies or bring in a valid photo identification such as a driver’s license to their local clerks as soon as possible to ensure their ballots would be counted. IDs can be presented in person or copies can be emailed, faxed or mailed. Kennedy said more than 11,000 absentee ballot requests had been received statewide as of Friday. He said he didn’t know how many had been returned by voters to clerks’ offices but estimated it in the hundreds. Read More

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Wisconsin: Officials scramble to implement voter ID law | Wisconsin Gazette

Wisconsin election officials were scrambling on Sept. 15 to deal with a federal appeals court’s ruling reinstating the requirement that voters show photo identification when casting ballots. The law had been on hold, after being in effect only for the low-turnout February 2012 primary, following a series of court orders blocking it. But a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, just hours after hearing oral arguments, said late on Sept. 12 that the state could proceed with implementing the law while it weighs the merits of the case. The decision came after a federal judge’ ruling in April struck down the law as an unconstitutional burden on poor and minority voters who may lack the required identification. The biggest immediate issue is what to do about more than 11,800 absentee ballots that have already been requested, and perhaps returned, without the voter showing the required identification, Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said Monday. The law requires people to submit photocopies of their IDs when requesting absentee ballots by mail, something that those who made their requests before Friday’s ruling didn’t have to do. Read More

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Wisconsin: Election Officials Scramble on Voter ID | Associated Press

Wisconsin election officials were scrambling Monday to deal with a federal appeals court’s ruling reinstating the requirement that voters show photo identification when casting ballots. The law had been on hold, after being in effect only for the low-turnout February 2012 primary, following a series of court orders blocking it. But a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, just hours after hearing oral arguments, said late Friday that the state could proceed with implementing the law while it weighs the merits of the case. The decision came after a federal judge’ ruling in April struck down the law as an unconstitutional burden on poor and minority voters who may lack the required identification. The biggest immediate issue is what to do about more than 11,800 absentee ballots that have already been requested, and perhaps returned, without the voter showing the required identification, Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney said Monday. Read More

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Wisconsin: Absentee ballot mailings halted in push to restart voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Local clerks and state elections officials are putting their absentee ballot mailings on hold as they hustle to reinstate Wisconsin’s photo ID requirement for voters in the wake of Friday’s federal appeals court decision. University of Wisconsin-Madison officials are also analyzing the decision and considering whether to begin issuing ID cards that could be used for voting. While some student IDs can be used for voting, the ones issued at UW-Madison and some other schools cannot. The Milwaukee Elections Commission had been scheduled to start mailing absentee ballots to voters Monday, but instead suspended that work until Wednesday at least, director Neil Albrecht said. The Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections, directed clerks around Wisconsin to also hold off on mailing absentee ballots. The deadline in state law to mail the ballots to those who have already requested them is Thursday. So far 8,000 people in Milwaukee alone have asked for them. Albrecht said that like other local elections officials, he is waiting on the accountability board to provide clear guidance about what clerks need to do to make sure their voters’ ballots aren’t invalidated. ”That’s the worst thing that any of us would want to see,” he said. Read More

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Wisconsin: Federal Appeals Court Permits Wisconsin Voter ID Law | New York Times

A federal appeals court on Friday permitted Wisconsin to restore a requirement that voters provide photo identification before casting their ballots, allowing the long-debated state law to take effect in time for a hard-fought election on Nov. 4. The order, which came surprisingly swiftly, on the same day that lawyers made their arguments before a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was seen as a significant victory for advocates of such voting requirements. Opponents of the laws had viewed the Wisconsin case as opening a novel legal basis for their efforts in federal courtrooms. In their order, the panel of three judges described Wisconsin’s requirement as “materially identical” to a statute in Indiana, which was upheld in 2008 by the Supreme Court. The panel also noted that Wisconsin had introduced new procedures to make it easier to obtain photo identification cards, reducing concerns raised months ago by a federal court judge who had blocked Wisconsin’s law, saying that it disproportionately affected blacks and Latinos. Read More

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Wisconsin: Scott Walker’s Favorite Judge Rescues Voter ID | The Progressive

At a Federalist Society event in Washington D.C. last November, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called 7th Circuit Judge Diane Sykes “one of our favorite jurists,” and joked about appointing her to the U.S. Supreme Court if elected president. During Friday’s hearing on Wisconsin’s blocked voter ID law, Sykes didn’t disappoint. “We are on the eve of an election,” Sykes said, indicating that she would like to immediately put one of Walker’s signature pieces of legislation in place for November’s vote. “No court has ever allowed voter ID to got into effect this close to an election,” replied NAACP attorney Dale Ho, “even courts that have ultimately upheld” voter ID.  Hours after argument wrapped, Sykes and the two other Republican judges on the panel made history, and ordered Wisconsin’s restrictive voter ID law to take effect immediately. The case came to the 7th Circuit from an appeal of district court Judge Lynn Adelman’s decision in April striking down Wisconsin’s voter ID law as violative of the U.S. Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  Read More

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Wisconsin: Appeals Court Reinstates Wisconsin’s Voter ID Law | Associated Press

In a stunningly fast decision, a federal appeals court in Chicago reinstated Wisconsin’s voter photo identification law on Friday – just hours after three Republican-appointed judges heard arguments on reactivating the hotly debated law in time for the November election. In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said, “The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes … enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections.” Wisconsin officials wasted no time in saying they would do just that. ”We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election,” said Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official. “We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week.” Read More

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Wisconsin: Appeals panel reinstates voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A federal appeals court in Chicago Friday reinstated for now Wisconsin’s voter ID law hours after the three-judge panel heard arguments on the subject. The move by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals clears the way for the state to implement the law for the Nov. 4 election, though it does not stop the ongoing appeal over whether the measure is unconstitutional. ”The state of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections,” the unsigned two-page order reads. The appellate court said Friday that it was satisfied by changes imposed on the law by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a separate decision earlier this year. ”This reduces the likelihood of irreparable injury, and it also changes the balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief. The panel has concluded that the state’s probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court,” the order reads. Read More

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