State and local election officials are bracing for another round of voter confusion after two federal judges struck down several voting-related laws recently. Neither ruling will affect next week’s fall primary election, but they have potentially wide-ranging implications on the November vote for president, U.S. Senate and state legislative races, said Michael Haas, the state’s top elections administrator. “Our main message at this point is that people understand that nothing changes these rules for the August election,” Haas said. “We, as well as the municipal clerks, will be doing our best to educate voters after the primary and as soon as we can.”
Municipal clerks are awaiting more information from the state Elections Commission and legal advice on whether the court decisions are likely to stick. If they do, voters could see expanded days, hours and locations for early voting, and the small number of voters who lack a photo ID would be less likely to be turned away at the polls.
On July 19, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled that anyone without a valid photo ID could sign an affidavit at his or her polling place in order to vote in November. Then on Friday, U.S. District Judge James Peterson struck down a raft of laws Republicans have passed since 2010 that have limited early voting to weekdays between certain hours at one location per municipality, upped residency requirements from 10 to 28 days and prohibited the use of expired student IDs for purposes of proving one’s identity.