J.B. Van Hollen

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Wisconsin: State high court: no reason to reconsider its voter ID ruling | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The state Supreme Court won’t reconsider its ruling last summer upholding the state’s requirement that voters show photo ID at the polls. The brief order issued this week by Wisconsin’s highest court denied a request by minority groups to block the voter ID law. Despite that ruling, the requirement won’t be in effect for the Nov. 4 election. That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order earlier this month temporarily blocking the law while lawsuits against it wind through the federal courts. After that setback from the high federal court, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said last week that he was giving up on his efforts to reinstate the law ahead of the upcoming election. Voters need a score card to track the dizzying rounds of litigation against the law and the dramatic reversals in those cases over the past two years. The request denied Wednesday by the seven-person state Supreme Court was made by two local minority groups who say the law violates their constitutional right to vote.

Full Article: State high court: no reason to reconsider its voter ID ruling.

Wisconsin: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A divided U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law late Thursday, issuing a terse yet dramatic one-page ruling less than four weeks before the Nov. 4 election. The 6-3 vote means in all likelihood the requirement to show ID at the polls will not be in effect for the election. But Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he would seek ways to reinstate the law within the month. Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans approved the law in 2011, but it was quickly blocked by a series of court decisions in four lawsuits. It was reinstated by a federal appeals court in recent weeks, but Thursday’s ruling again put the law on hold. “That is great news, wonderful news,” Milwaukee NAACP chapter President James Hall said. “I think it’s gratifying that the court has seen fit to block the implementation of this law that would most certainly create chaos and confusion in this election.”

Full Article: U.S. Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin voter ID law.

Wisconsin: Opponents again ask for relief from voter ID requirement | Wisconsin State Journal

The fate of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, set to take effect in one month, is pending before two federal courts, both of which have been asked to issue an emergency order halting implementation of the law. Meanwhile, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to leave the law in place for the Nov. 4 election , when voters will select Wisconsin’s next governor. On Tuesday, one day after a three-judge appeals court panel affirmed that Wisconsin’s voter ID law is constitutional, opponents including the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union asked the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stop implementation of the requirement that residents show a state-issued identification or other photo ID before voting.

Full Article: Opponents again ask for relief from voter ID requirement : Wsj.

Wisconsin: Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin Voter ID Law | Associated Press

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Wisconsin’s requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls is constitutional, a decision that is not surprising after the court last month allowed for the law to be implemented while it considered the case. State elections officials are preparing for the photo ID law to be in effect for the Nov. 4 election, even as opponents continue their legal fight. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project asked the U.S. Supreme Court last week to take emergency action and block the law. Opponents argue that requiring voters to show photo ID, a requirement that had, until recently, been on hold since a low-turnout February 2012 primary, will create chaos and confusion at the polls. But supporters say most people already have a valid ID and, if they don’t, there is time to get one before the election.

Full Article: Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin Voter ID Law - ABC News.

Wisconsin: Government Accountability Board calm in middle of political storm | Wisconsin State Journal

“Umpires have the toughest jobs in baseball. Ever since the birth of boos, they have suffered more abuse than bathroom walls.”

— Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame announcer

The same is true in politics, especially with a big election looming. Witness all the griping lately over the state Government Accountability Board, which is responsible for overseeing campaigns and voting. We’re in about the sixth or seventh inning of the race for Wisconsin governor, and control of the Legislature is on the line. Unlike baseball umpires, however, the public servants at the GAB have to deal with lawsuits and changing rules while the game is still being played. 

Full Article: GAB calm in middle of political storm : Wsj.

Wisconsin: Voting rights advocates want Supreme Court to block voter ID law | The Washington Post

Opponents of a strict new voter identification law set to go into effect for the first time in this year’s elections are asking the Supreme Court to block the law, arguing there isn’t enough time to properly implement the law before Election Day. Two voting rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project, which represents a number of other Democratic-leaning groups, filed a petition with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan seeking an emergency stay halting the new law’s implementation. The petition comes after an en banc panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Friday split evenly on whether to hear a challenge to the law. The 5-5 decision leaves an earlier three-judge panel’s ruling in favor of the law intact, reversing an order from a federal judge in Wisconsin this spring to strike it down as unconstitutional.

Full Article: Voting rights advocates want Supreme Court to block Wisconsin voter ID law - The Washington Post.

Wisconsin: Election officials ask judge to toss suit over ballot design | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

State election officials asked a judge Tuesday to throw out a lawsuit over the design of the Nov. 4 ballots, saying the campaigns of two Republican lawmakers did not follow proper procedures in bringing their court challenge. Even if the case is allowed to proceed, the election officials argued, the judge can consider changing the ballots in just four places — Racine, Walworth, Columbia and Jefferson counties. Those who brought the suit can’t argue over the ballots in the state’s 68 other counties because they either don’t represent them or the ballots in those counties don’t include the features that are the subject of their suit, they said. The filing came a day before Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer is to hold a hearing to consider whether to order election officials to make changes to the ballots six weeks before the election. The campaigns of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) last week filed their suit contending ballots designed by the state Government Accountability Board are confusing. Ballots’ formats vary by county, but if successful, the suit could result in ballots in some areas being redesigned and reprinted.

Full Article: Election officials ask judge to toss suit over Wisconsin ballot design.

Wisconsin: Brief filed in Voter ID case points out limited DMV access | Capital Times

An amicus brief filed in the effort to stop Wisconsin’s Voter ID law from being implemented before Election Day focuses on a lack of access for many to Department of Motor Vehicles service centers throughout the state between now and Nov. 4. The brief, filed by One Wisconsin Institute (the research arm of One Wisconsin Now), demonstrates the differences between Wisconsin and Indiana with regard to implementing Voter ID laws. One Wisconsin Institute’s research shows that Wisconsin residents have much less access to DMV centers to obtain necessary identification than Indiana residents do. A three-judge panel on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 12 that the state could implement its Voter ID law before the midterm election, while it considers the merits of a case brought by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. Van Hollen is asking the court to overturn U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman’s decision to strike down the law, which was passed in 2011.

Full Article: Brief filed in Wisconsin Voter ID case points out limited DMV access : Ct.

Wisconsin: Opponents of voter ID law seek reversal of court’s decision | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Groups challenging Wisconsin’s voter ID law in filings asked a full appeals court to reverse a decision by three federal judges that allows the law to go into effect this fall. The submissions Tuesday and Wednesday by lawyers for the Advancement Project and the American Civil Liberties Union said Friday’s decision by a panel of judges from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was a “radical, last-minute change to procedures for conducting an election that is already underway.” “Supreme Court precedent and other circuits uniformly caution against such eleventh-hour changes to the election laws, even where those courts have approved such changes for future elections,” the attorneys wrote. In a terse order Wednesday, the court told Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s office to respond by Tuesday. Van Hollen declined to comment on the filings through his spokeswoman, Dana Brueck. The legal fight is coming to a head just seven weeks before the Nov. 4 election between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke. Walker signed the voter ID law in 2011; Burke opposes it.

Full Article: Opponents of Wisconsin voter ID law seek reversal of court's decision.

Wisconsin: Federal appeals judges to hear Wisconsin voter ID arguments | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A panel of three federal appeals court judges in Chicago will hear arguments on whether to reinstate Wisconsin’s voter ID law on Friday, less than eight weeks before the Nov. 4 election. Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the Legislature in 2011 approved the law, which requires voters to show poll workers certain types of photo identification to vote. Litigation immediately followed, and judges at the state and federal level halted the law. The requirement was in effect for just one election, a low-turnout primary in February 2012. Two cases were brought in federal court, and U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee heard them together. This April, he ruled the voter ID law placed an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. He also determined it violated the federal Voting Rights Act because minorities are less likely than whites to have IDs for voting. Adelman found some 300,000 people in Wisconsin do not have IDs and wrote the voter ID law would “prevent more legitimate votes from being cast than fraudulent votes.” He ruled there was no rational basis for the law because voter impersonation — the only kind of fraud the voter ID law would curb — is nonexistent or virtually nonexistent. Supporters of voter ID disagree with that sentiment, saying voter fraud is difficult to detect and requiring IDs gives the public more confidence in election results.

Full Article: Federal appeals judges to hear Wisconsin voter ID arguments.

Wisconsin: State plans to issue free photo IDs to some voters | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Two days before appearing in front of a panel of federal appeals judges over the state’s halted voter identification law, Wisconsin officials on Wednesday announced a new process for giving free photo IDs to people who don’t have birth certificates. The system was set up in response to a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in July that said the state could not require people to produce documents that require government fees for the purpose of voting. The new plan for issuing IDs is to debut Monday, but under it those who do not have birth certificates or other key documents will not receive IDs right away. That could mean people who try to get IDs just before an election wouldn’t get them quickly enough to allow them to vote — a provision that could open a new line of litigation. Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature in 2011 approved the law requiring people to show photo ID to vote. Four lawsuits immediately followed, two in state court and two in federal court. The law was in effect for a February 2012 primary, but was then blocked by a series of court orders. The state Supreme Court in July upheld the voter ID law in the two state cases, one decided 5-2 and one 4-3.

Full Article: State plans to issue free photo IDs to some voters.

Wisconsin: Voter ID Law Before 7th Circuit This Week | WBAY

This week the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Multiple lawsuits have been filed since the state legislature passed the measure in 2012. In July the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional. But now a panel of three federal judges will question Friday whether the requirement to show a photo ID at the polls violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution, as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen ask the law be reinstated for the November elections.

Full Article: Wisconsin Voter ID Law Before 7th Circuit This Week - WBAY.

Wisconsin: Scott Walker, J.B. Van Hollen again ask court to reinstate voter ID | Journal Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are asking a federal court to reinstate Wisconsin’s voter ID law, but they have not finalized a plan to comply with a different court’s decision requiring the state to provide IDs to people who don’t have birth certificates. The state Supreme Court last month upheld the voter ID law, but the requirement to show photo ID at the polls remains blocked because a federal judge has found it violates the Voting Rights Act and U.S. Constitution. A new court filing suggests the voter ID law is unlikely to be put in place for the Nov. 4 election, when the GOP governor faces Democrat Mary Burke. She opposes the voter ID law. State officials say they need to know soon whether the law will be in effect so they can retrain poll workers and send out absentee ballots with the proper information. But the federal appeals court has said it won’t rule on reinstating the voter ID law until at least Sept. 12 — around the time absentee ballots will be mailed out. “I just can’t imagine that this could be implemented by the November election without creating a huge mess,” said Daniel Tokaji, an election law professor at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. “I think it would be imprudent to put it mildly to try to implement this law pursuant to an order issued after Sept. 12. I think that’s just asking for trouble.”

Full Article: Scott Walker, J.B. Van Hollen again ask court to reinstate voter ID.

Editorials: Federal appeals court should decline request to reinstate Wisconsin voter ID law | Journal-Sentinel

Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are asking a federal appeals court to reinstate Wisconsin’s voter ID law immediately after the court hears oral arguments on Sept. 12 so that it would be in pace for the November election. We think that would be a mistake — first, because the law isn’t needed and second, because a ruling so close to the election may not leave enough time to effectively implement the law, resulting in confusion at the polls. That serves no one any good. Better to leave things as they are for now, and let voters go to the polls with no worries about whether they’ll need an ID. We’ve made the point before, but we’ll make it here again: Voter ID is a solution in search of a problem. There have been very few cases of voter impersonation in Wisconsin, the kind of fraud that a voter ID would prevent. At the same time, numerous groups have testified about the difficulty some people — mainly, minorities, the elderly and students — would have in obtaining an ID.

Full Article: Our View | Voter ID - Federal appeals court should decline request to reinstate voter ID law.

Wisconsin: Federal judge refuses to put ruling halting voter ID on hold | Journal-Sentinel

A federal judge has denied the state’s request for a hold on his decision striking down Wisconsin’s law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had made two different requests to halt the decision during the appeals process. U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman denied the first of those Wednesday, leaving in place the decision that he had made in April to strike down the voter ID law for violating voters’ constitutional rights. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has yet to rule on the other stay request made by Van Hollen, who is seeking to reinstate the law in time for the Nov. 4 election.

Full Article: Federal judge refuses to put ruling halting voter ID on hold.

Wisconsin: Voter ID ruling creating confusion for primary | Associated Press

Voters will not have to show photo identification to cast a ballot in Tuesday’s primary election, but poll watchers say they’re still concerned there could be confusion thanks to a recent state Supreme Court ruling that the photo ID law is constitutional. The court’s decision didn’t reinstate the law because the photo ID requirement was previously blocked in federal court. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is trying to get that ruling put on hold in time for the November general election. The opposing legal views create confusion, especially for voters who aren’t paying close attention or may be misinformed, said Larry Dupuis, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Wisconsin. The biggest concern is that someone without an ID may assume they can’t vote, so they won’t show up, Dupuis said.

Full Article: Voter ID ruling creating confusion for primary : Portage Daily Register.

Wisconsin: Van Hollen Seeks Revival of Photo ID Law for Fall Election | Bloomberg

Wisconsin’s attorney general asked a federal appeals court to revive the state’s suspended voter identification law in time for the November elections. The law, which requires would-be voters to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot, was blocked in an April ruling by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee. He concluded after a trial that the measure illegally makes it more difficult for minority voters to cast ballots. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, in his request filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago, cited two rulings handed down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week, upholding the measure enacted by Republican Governor Scott Walker in 2011.

Full Article: Wisconsin Seeks Revival of Photo ID Law for Fall Election - Bloomberg.

Wisconsin: Divided court upholds Wisconsin’s voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

A divided state Supreme Court on Thursday tweaked a provision of Wisconsin’s voter ID law to put it in keeping with the state constitution, making it easier for people to get identification cards without having to pay along the way. Despite Thursday’s rulings in two challenges of the law, the requirement to show photo identification at the polls remains blocked because a federal judge in April found Wisconsin’s voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act. That decision is now under review by the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who defended the law, said he believed Thursday’s rulings strengthened his hand in the federal litigation and he would use them to try to reinstate the voter ID requirement in time for the Nov. 4 election. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in two cases, upholding the voter ID law 4-3 in one and 5-2 in the other. In one case, the court majority crafted a “saving construction” of the voter ID law to keep it from being unconstitutional. That was aimed at preventing the state from requiring voters to pay any government fees to get a state-issued ID card.

Full Article: Divided court upholds Wisconsin's voter ID law.

Editorials: Does anyone really impersonate another voter? | The Daily Page

It was not so long ago that Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson had so much appeal for Democrats that he carried both Dane and Milwaukee counties. Thompson pushed to get 65% or 70% of the vote, but nowadays, he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the parties say, “How do I get to 50% plus one?'” In Thompson’s day, no Republicans advocated for photo ID. But in this era of extreme polarization, where it’s all about getting a higher percentage of your supporters to the polls, GOP legislators overwhelmingly agree photo ID is needed. They deny it’s about creating a barrier for mostly Democratic low-income and minority voters and depressing their turnout. No, no, it’s all about combating voter fraud. That claim was put to the test in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, who heard extensive testimony from both sides before issuing an April 29 decision declaring the state photo ID law unconstitutional. Defending the law was a skilled lawyer, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, who had every chance to present evidence proving voter fraud occurs. But if you read his huge final brief, Van Hollen had very weak arguments on that point. “The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past,” Adelman’s decision states. Testifying for the plaintiffs was Rutgers University Prof. Lorraine Minnite, who specializes in researching voter fraud. She studied elections in Wisconsin in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012, analyzing newspaper databases, news releases by the attorney general, criminal complaints, decisions by state courts, and documents issued by the Government Accountability Board, and could identify only one case of voter impersonation fraud. That case did not involve in-person voter impersonation, which the photo ID requirement is meant to prevent.

Full Article: Does anyone really impersonate another voter? - Isthmus | The Daily Page.

Wisconsin: State seeks stay as it appeals voter ID case | Bloomberg News

Wisconsin has told a U.S. judge that it will appeal his ruling barring the state from enforcing a voter-identification law as litigation over ballot access intensifies in the run-up to November’s elections. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Monday filed court papers asking U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee to delay his April ruling blocking the law until the decision is reviewed by an appeals court in Chicago. The measure, signed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2011, would require Wisconsin voters to produce a government-issued ID before casting a ballot. Adelman permanently blocked the measure on April 29, concluding it burdens minorities’ right to vote. Dozens of courtroom battles were fought ahead of the 2012 presidential election over voter-identification requirements passed by Republican-dominated legislatures since President Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. Supporters of the laws say they’re needed to prevent voter fraud. Opponents contend the measures are aimed at suppressing the votes of low-income people and the elderly who may be more inclined to vote for Democrats.

Full Article: Wisconsin seeks stay as it appeals voter ID case | Politics in Minnesota.