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.
How that would work is unclear. The ruling requires the state Division of Motor Vehicles to give out IDs to those who can’t afford birth certificates and other documents, but provides no guidance to how officials could determine people are who they say they are without such documentation.
“I am confounded by that, by the saving construction, because there are no standards for how to apply it,” said Madison attorney Lester Pines, who represented the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin in one of the voter ID cases. “I find it to be unworkable and it’s going to lead to more litigation.”
Full Article: Divided court upholds Wisconsin’s voter ID law.