A Wisconsin law requiring voters to show identification at the polls went before the state’s highest court Tuesday. The Wisconsin Supreme Court listened to arguments for more than three hours in front of a packed courtroom. Attorneys on both sides of the law faced questions from the court’s justices. Justice Pat Roggensack told the state’s attorney she’s concerned some people have to pay $20 for a birth certificate, which they need to get an ID. “It’s still a payment to the state to be able to vote. That bothers me, can you address that?” asked Roggensack. “Since the voter ID law was in place, or was going to be in place, there were some places in Wisconsin that offered free birth certificates,” responded Clayton Kawski, an assistant Attorney General for Wisconsin. The law was enacted in 2011. It was in effect for a primary election in February 2012, but it was blocked soon after by a court order. It hasn’t been in place since.
The court heard two cases Tuesday, both challenging the requirement. The two groups behind the lawsuits oppose the law for different reasons.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) believes the law creates an undue burden on people to get an ID and pay for copies of supporting documents like birth certificates.
The state says the law would prevent voter fraud. State attorneys pointed out voter ID cards are available for free, but voters must have the supporting documents.
The League of Women Voters argues the law violates the state constitution.