A federal judge on Monday denied a civil rights group’s request that voters be allowed to use more forms of photo identification at Wisconsin’s polls, marking another chapter in a string of legal decisions surrounding the politically-charged voter ID requirement. The American Civil Liberties Union asked U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in March to declare that people can use technical college IDs, out-of-state driver licenses and veteran photo IDs to vote. The ACLU argued that the voter ID law allows four-year college IDs at the polls but it is unclear whether technical college IDs are acceptable. The group also argued that Wisconsin voters with out-of-state driver licenses must surrender the licenses, forfeiting the ability to drive, so they can get Wisconsin IDs, amounting to an unconstitutional poll tax. Finally, the group contended the law arbitrarily excludes the use of Veterans Administration IDs even though U.S. military IDs are acceptable. Adelman rejected all three arguments.
He wrote that the voter ID law doesn’t expressly forbid technical college IDs and the state Government Accountability Board has interpreted the law as allowing them. The judge said the ACLU’s request isn’t ripe because neither Gov. Scott Walker nor the Legislature has disagreed with that interpretation so far.
The request to allow out-of-state driver’s licenses is moot, Adelman said. The two plaintiffs representing Wisconsin voters who would have to surrender out-of-state driver’s licenses in the ACLU’s request have U.S. passports they can use at the polls, he said. The ACLU failed to persuade him that a large number of people in Wisconsin would have to surrender their out-of-state licenses so they could get IDs they could use at the polls, he added.