Wisconsin officials say they plan to enforce the state’s controversial voter-ID law less than two months before the 2014 midterm elections, after the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit lifted a stay on the law on Friday afternoon. In April, a federal trial judge invalidated the law, finding that it would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of eligible voters — largely poorer and minority citizens who tend to vote Democratic . The Republican-dominated legislature claimed the law was necessary to stop in-person voter fraud, but the judge found that to be virtually nonexistent. In July, the state’s supreme court revised the procedures for getting a photo ID to make it easier for those who could not afford one, or had trouble tracking down the necessary underlying documents, such as a birth certificate.
After the three-judge panel of the appeals court heard oral arguments in the case on Friday morning, it allowed the law to go into effect. It said the state supreme court’s action reduced “the likelihood of irreparable injury” to voters without ID. (The panel did not yet rule on the merits of the challenge to the law, which the ACLU and other groups brought under both the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.)
Rick Hasen, a professor of election law at the University of California, Irvine, called the decision a “big, big mistake” on his blog. He noted that the state has already mailed out nearly 12,000 absentee ballots that do not include the photo-ID requirement. “It is hard enough to administer an election with set rules — much less to change the rules midstream.”
Full Article: ‘A Big, Big Mistake’ in Voter ID Case – NYTimes.com.