An amicus brief filed in the effort to stop Wisconsin’s Voter ID law from being implemented before Election Day focuses on a lack of access for many to Department of Motor Vehicles service centers throughout the state between now and Nov. 4. The brief, filed by One Wisconsin Institute (the research arm of One Wisconsin Now), demonstrates the differences between Wisconsin and Indiana with regard to implementing Voter ID laws. One Wisconsin Institute’s research shows that Wisconsin residents have much less access to DMV centers to obtain necessary identification than Indiana residents do. A three-judge panel on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 12 that the state could implement its Voter ID law before the midterm election, while it considers the merits of a case brought by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Van Hollen is asking the court to overturn U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman’s decision to strike down the law, which was passed in 2011.
The Advancement Project and the American Civil Liberties Union — the groups that first challenged the law in the 2011 federal suit — have asked the federal appeals court for a re-hearing by the entire 10-judge court.
In its Sept. 12 ruling, a three-judge panel noted that Wisconsin’s law is “materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute,” which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in “Crawford v. Marion County Election Board.” The decision did not address the levels of DMV access in both states.
“The legal provisions of the Wisconsin voter ID requirement may be similar to those in Indiana,” One Wisconsin Institute executive director Scot Ross said in a statement. “But where these states differ dramatically is in the ability of citizens to obtain a required ID. Despite being a more populous and geographically larger state, Wisconsin has fewer Department of Motor Vehicle outlets open for fewer total hours than Indiana.”