A federal judge said Thursday there are few clear guidelines for how to rule on parts of a challenge to Wisconsin’s voting rules and questioned how much of an effect the state’s voter ID law has had on elections. “Both the Republican side and the Democratic side probably overstated or over-predicted the impact the voter ID law would have on elections,” said U.S. District Judge James Peterson. “I just don’t see anything really powerful either way.” Peterson said people don’t expect voter qualification rules to have a partisan element, but noted there is no clear line of cases addressing that point. “Why aren’t there cases that really guide me in this way?” he asked an attorney for the challengers. “There’s no easy template for me to follow.”
At times, Peterson expressed skepticism about key parts of the case, for instance saying he was uncertain about the account a former Republican aide gave of a meeting Republican state senators held just before they approved the voter ID law in 2011. Todd Allbaugh said he eventually dropped his affiliation with Republicans because he was disillusioned by what he saw as an overt attempt to suppress the vote.
“I’m a long way from feeling I have to accept Mr. Allbaugh’s interpretation” of the meeting, Peterson said.
Peterson, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama in 2014, is expected to issue a written decision in July, but he has said his ruling would not affect the Aug. 9 primary. His ruling could, however, reset voting rules for the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Full Article: Federal judge questions impact of Wisconsin voter ID law.