The federal judge deciding the legality of Wisconsin’s voter ID law received an early Christmas present last week in some reading for over the holidays: more than 200 pages of post-trial briefs. Don’t blame the parties. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, who presided over eight days of testimony in November, invited the briefs and set the pre-holidays deadline. He hasn’t indicated when he will rule. Despite their length, the briefs are meant to sharpen the points both sides tried to make at trial. The plaintiffs, individual voters and groups representing minorities, contend Act 23 violates the federal Voting Rights Act because it has a disproportionate negative impact on members of those groups, regardless of the law’s intent. The state contends the law furthers a legitimate interest in protecting the integrity of the electoral process and stopping fraud, and that it allows enough alternative forms of photo ID to accommodate anyone who truly wants to vote.
Two cases were combined for the trial, the first in the nation to challenge a voter ID law under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act since the U.S. Supreme Court struck a different provision of the 1965 law.
A group assisting the plaintiffs, the Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project, said in a news release about its brief that the cases show why “Wisconsin has long been recognized as the Selma of the North,” and called Act 23 “virtually indistinguishable from Jim Crow laws of earlier eras” designed to suppress the African-American vote.
Full Article: Legal filings hone arguments over Wisconsin voter ID law.