Groups that blocked the state’s new voter ID law in two separate lawsuits are fighting an effort to have the state Supreme Court take over the cases and render a ruling before the Nov. 6 election. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen last month asked the high court to take the cases from two appeals courts, consolidate them and rule before the election. The Supreme Court this spring rejected an earlier effort by Van Hollen to take over the cases. Van Hollen argues it is appropriate to take the cases now that they both have full trial records. On Tuesday, the plaintiffs in both cases made separate filings arguing the high court should not take the cases. “The only thing that has changed since April, when this court last had the opportunity to take up this case, is the political climate,” said a filing from the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera wrote in their filing that the high court would benefit from having the cases reviewed by the courts of appeals. The groups also said imposing the voter ID requirement close to the election would cause problems for voters and poll workers. “Imposing the photo ID requirement in such a precipitous fashion will produce confusion and chaos at the polls statewide,” said the brief by NAACP and Voces.
Republicans controlled the state Capitol last year and approved a strict law requiring people to show photo ID to vote. In response, four lawsuits were filed — two in federal court and two in Dane County Circuit Court. Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan first blocked the law in March with a temporary injunction in the case brought by the NAACP and Voces. He made his injunction permanent in July, saying that the ID requirement imposed an unreasonable burden on the right to vote. That case is now before the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Waukesha.