The state of Wisconsin must immediately provide more information to help people seeking state-issued voting credentials navigate the complex process, a federal judge ordered Thursday. U.S. District Judge James Peterson declined to suspend the state’s voter ID law before the November election, arguing he doesn’t have the authority to issue a “brand new injunction” and that it might be “unwise” to make sweeping changes less than a month from Election Day. Instead, the judge opted to focus on providing a “targeted remedy” to issues with the ID petition process, or IDPP, which is designed to help people who don’t have the proper documentation obtain IDs. “What we are doing here is to patch it up, get it in good enough shape to get us through the November election,” Peterson said, adding that a previous court order he issued in July mandates a fundamental reform of the process after the election.
Peterson said the state can expect “close supervision and court involvement” in the reform process after the election. The judge issued his orders verbally in a hearing Thursday morning, and will later formalize it in writing. He told plaintiffs he would “not be offended” if they appealed his decision to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which he said would have the jurisdiction to suspend the voter ID law.
The solution prescribed on Thursday is “imperfect,” Peterson said, adding that he is “still persuaded it will take care of the worst problems with the IDPP process.”
“If we look broadly at what has happened there are … undeniably people who have been disenfranchised by the IDPP process,” Peterson said.