Wisconsin: Voting rights advocate on Supreme Court voter ID ruling: ‘We feel we have already won’ | The Cap Times

With the Wisconsin Supreme Court set to release decisions Thursday on cases challenging the state’s voter ID law that was filed nearly three years ago, the executive director of the Wisconsin League of Women Voters said, in many ways, “we feel we have already won.” The law that requires voters to show a picture ID prior to voting was passed in May of 2011. That October, the league became the first of four organizations to file a lawsuit. The law, which quickly became the most restrictive of its kind in the country when it passed, was in place for one election cycle in February 2012. It was subsequently blocked under a Dane County Circuit Court ruling issued by Judge Richard Niess in March of 2012. For the next seven elections, voters did not have to show their ID’s, said Andrea Kaminski, the league’s executive director.

Wisconsin: Voting rights groups worry that Republican bills will deter youth voting | Cap Times

Shortly after reading an article that discussed young voter turnout in midterm elections, Scot Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, pointed to a key method used by Republicans to check the enthusiasm of young voters, who overwhelmingly lean Democratic. “If you want to talk about the GOP agenda for youth it’s simple: suppress their vote,” he wrote. “That’s what a ton of the voting bills have been about.” Ross isn’t the only one to complain about the effects of Republican voting legislation on young people. Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, said that a series of laws passed since Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011 have made it much harder for organizations such as her own to register college students to vote.

Wisconsin: League of Women Voters ponders lawsuit over early voting restrictions | Capital Times

Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, is unsure how her organization will respond to Gov. Scott Walker’s recent signing of a bill to restrict early voting throughout the state. Walker issued a partial veto that killed a provision that would have barred municipalities from offering more than 45 hours of weekday in-person absentee voting. Nevertheless, the bill as signed still bars municipalities from offering early voting on weekends in the weeks preceding an election and restricts early voting to the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Walker’s veto amounted to a minimal improvement, says Kaminski. “It was a very, very small concession,” she says.

Wisconsin: Election bills raise concerns | Wisconsin Radio Network

Legislation proposed by a Republican lawmaker is raising some issues for groups that seek to promote voting rights in Wisconsin. Andrea Kaminski with the League of Women Voters says under terms of one of the bills from state Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berline), if a busy poll worker forgets to ask a voter to sign the poll book, another ballot could be “drawn down” in the case of a recount. “You could sign the poll book, do everything right, but nontheless, if a poll worker forgot to ask someone else to sign the poll book, your ballot could be removed,” Kaminski says. She says if, for example, five people at a given location don’t sign the poll book and five ballots are pulled, “it’s very unlikely that those five ballots will be the those five people who didn’t sign the poll book. The bill from Lazich is SB 266.

Wisconsin: Opponents criticize bill aimed at reinstating voter ID | Pioneer Press

A sweeping Republican bill designed to reinstate voter photo identification requirements in Wisconsin would force poor people to humiliate themselves at the polls and scale back absentee voting opportunities, opponents warned during a public hearing on the proposal Tuesday. Rep. Jeff Stone’s bill would make a host of changes to state election law. A key provision would allow voters to opt out of showing photo IDs at the polls if they swear before the chief inspector and sign an affidavit saying they’re poor and can’t obtain identification without paying a fee; have a religious objection to being photographed; or can’t obtain the proper documents needed to acquire photo identification. Stone, R-Greendale, told the Assembly election committee during Tuesday’s hearing that the provisions are designed to overcome a court decision nullifying voter ID requirements in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Appeals court ruling doesn’t enact voter ID law | The Cap Times

A state appeals court overturned a Dane County Circuit Court ruling Thursday morning, handing proponents of the state’s controversial voter ID law a minor legal victory. The ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeals came in a case brought by the Wisconsin League of Women Voters. The league argued the law passed in 2011 violated a provision of the Wisconsin Constitution that guarantees every person the right to vote. Thursday’s ruling, however, will not result in the voter ID law being enacted. Three other lawsuits are still pending that challenge the legality of the law. In the other case brought in state courts, Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group, and the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP won a permanent injunction against the voter ID law in Dane County Circuit Court. The state Department of Justice has asked for an appeals court review of the ruling.

Wisconsin: Voter ID law constitutional, appeals court rules | Reuters

A Wisconsin appeals court on Thursday ruled the state’s controversial voter ID law is constitutional, a victory for supporters who say the measure limits fraud at the ballot box. The Fourth District Court of Appeals overturned a March 2012 decision by Dane County judge Richard Niess, who ruled in favor of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, which claimed that the law is too burdensome, denying potential voters the right to vote. The organization “makes no effective argument that, on its face, the requirement makes voting so difficult and inconvenient as to amount to a denial of the right to vote,” the appeals court wrote in its decision.

Wisconsin: Bill Would Enact Voter ID, End Disclosure, Limit Early Voting, Expand Lobbyist Influence | PR Watch

A Wisconsin legislator has managed to bundle nearly all of the excesses associated with dirty elections into a single bill that good government advocates are describing as a “sweeping assault on democracy:” the legislation would try reinstating restrictive voter ID requirements, make it easier for donors to secretly influence elections, expand lobbyist influence, restrict early voting, and make it harder to register, among other measures. The legislation is “so huge, covers so much ground, and has so many independently controversial parts of it,” that it appears “intended to cut-out any public input or to render [that input] meaningless,” says Andrea Kaminski, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. Announced on the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend, and in the midst of the budget-writing process that consumes most state news coverage, the bill from Rep. Jeff Stone (R) seems designed to be rushed-through before the public has a chance to respond.

Editorials: Suppressing the student vote? New residency rules could affect Wisconsin’s recall election | The Daily Page

The voter ID law passed last spring by the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature was widely criticized for requiring that voters show a driver’s license or other form of photo identification at the polls. These provisions are now under two court injunctions by judges who found that the photo ID requirements likely discriminate against minorities, the poor and the elderly. Meanwhile, it is the bill’s new residency requirements, largely lost in the controversy over photo ID, that are much more likely to keep students away from the polls in the upcoming June 5 recall elections for governor, lieutenant governor and four state Senate seats. Turnout among students, a voting bloc traditionally thought to favor Democrats, was already low in the May 8 recall primary. The new rules require that voters live at an address for 28 days before being eligible to vote. Dorm leases for 6,900 students at UW-Madison end May 20, and many of the other students living off campus will leave for the summer around the same time. Do the math and the dilemma is clear: There is no time to reestablish residency to vote June 5.

Wisconsin: Supporters Plan to Appeal Voter ID Decision | WUWM

Wisconsin’s new voter ID law has been dealt another blow. A judge in Madison on Monday issued a permanent injunction against the photo ID requirement. As WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson reports, supporters plan to appeal. Under the Republican-approved Voter ID law, people must present a valid driver’s license or other government issued photo identification in order to vote. The law took effect for local primary elections in February, but low turnout resulted in few problems. Last week, a judge temporarily blocked the photo requirement, barring it from being in effect for the April 3 presidential primary. On Monday, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent order. He ruled in the lawsuit the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed. Executive Director Andrea Kaminski says it based its challenge on Wisconsin’s constitution.