A broad alliance of civil rights groups representing voters most affected by Wisconsin’s photo ID law pressed the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to the measure enacted during Gov. Scott Walker’s first term. The Wisconsin Department of Justice, meanwhile, are asking the high court to reject the appeal. The case, Frank v. Walker, is pending before the Supreme Court, on appeal filed after the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the statute last October. After the appellate ruling, challengers secured from the Supreme Court a temporary hold that kept the law from being implemented for the 2014 midterm election. However, the high court has not indicated whether it will hear the case on merit.
Earlier in February, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel asked the justices to let the appeals ruling stand. He wrote in his brief that Act 23 does not place an undue burden on voters: “In Wisconsin, as everywhere, the overwhelming majority of voters already have qualifying ID. For those who lack ID, obtaining one and bringing it to the polling place is generally no more of a burden than the process of voting itself.”
But the plaintiffs — including the League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin, Cross Lutheran Church, Wisconsin League of Young Voters Education Fund, and the Milwaukee Area Labor Council of the AFL-CIO — disagree. They maintain the law, which requires voters to present specific types of government photo ID, disenfranchises Wisconsinites, because an estimated 9 percent of all registered voters lack the necessary ID to vote. Many of those voters are young people, older citizens and minorities.