Wisconsin Republicans are pushing state legislation that would block local governments from issuing voter ID cards — which are required at the ballot box under a 2011 law — even though the locals IDs currently being considered in a Milwaukee program aren’t meant to be used for voting. Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo are floating a proposal that would bar cities and villages from issuing any photo ID card, according to the Journal Sentinel. It also would require that any ID issued by local governments to state clearly that it does not meet the state’s voter ID requirements. Nor can local government IDs be used for any public benefits program, under the proposal.
Wisconsin: Judge’s ruling a mixed bag for those challenging voter ID law | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A federal judge has thrown out portions of a challenge to Wisconsin’s voting laws but is allowing a key part of the lawsuit to proceed that could allow more types of identification to be used under the voter ID law. In his ruling last month, U.S. District Judge James Peterson in Madison also found the liberal One Wisconsin Institute could pursue its argument that recent restrictions on early voting violate the U.S. Constitution. The group brought its lawsuit in May, contending the voter ID law, limits on early voting and other policies were designed to make it harder for minorities, the poor and those backing Democrats to vote.
Republican Missouri legislative leaders, backed by veto-proof majorities, will try again in 2016 to require voters to show photo identification at the polls, despite numerous failed attempts over the past decade. Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican running for secretary of state, pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment to allow for photo identification and a bill that would require voters to present government-issued photo ID. GOP House members pre-filed similar measures. A change to the state’s constitution would be necessary before implementing a photo ID law because the Missouri Supreme Court struck down a similar measure in 2006 as unconstitutional.
North Carolina: Elections officials notifying voters who have no valid IDs | Greensboro News & Record
State election leaders sent letters last week to 825 registered voters in North Carolina, warning that they “may not possess an acceptable form of photo ID” for voting next year. State law will require all North Carolina voters to show a picture ID to vote. Ted Fitzgerald, the state’s lead voter outreach specialist, said Monday the letter went to a narrow slice of voters: those who signed a form at the polls this year saying they don’t have the acceptable ID required to vote in 2016. The letter asks people to fill out a form about whether they plan to get an acceptable ID, or if they need help getting one. The ID requirement is part of legislation state Republican legislators passed in 2013. The Voter Information Verification Act also reduced the early voting period from 17 to 10 days, eliminated same-day voter registration and abandoned out-of-precinct provisional voting.
Wisconsin’s requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls has survived another legal challenge after a federal judge Thursday dismissed portions of a wide-ranging lawsuit alleging the mandate burdens the right to vote. One Wisconsin Institute Inc., a liberal group; Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund, a voting rights organization; and a half-dozen individual voters filed the lawsuit in June. They argued a number of provisions Republicans have added to state election law since they took over the Legislature in 2011, most prominently the photo ID requirement, violate the federal Voting Rights Act, the First Amendment and the equal protection clause. U.S. District Judge James Peterson issued an order saying he has granted the state’s motion to dismiss the portion of the lawsuit challenging the voter ID requirements. He said the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already upheld the mandate in a separate case in October 2014. But he added he’s not convinced that the requirement promotes any confidence in the electoral process. He also rejected another section of the lawsuit alleging that statutory changes impermissibly favor voters who move to Wisconsin from out of state.
North Carolina: State attorneys oppose call for preliminary injunction against photo ID law | Winston-Salem Journal
Attorneys for the state filed court papers Friday opposing the request for a preliminary injunction against the state’s photo ID requirement before the March primaries. The N.C. NAACP filed a motion for a preliminary injunction last month, arguing that allowing the photo ID requirement during the March primaries would cause “irreparable harm” to minority voters. They argue that state officials haven’t done enough to educate voters about the photo ID requirement or about changes that state Republican legislators made to the requirement in June.
Editorials: The public doesn’t support restrictive voter ID laws, but many new ones will be in force in 2016 | Herman Schwartz/Reuters
Defenders of photo ID laws regularly cite public opinion polls that show widespread support for their arguments. Yet these polls reveal no such support, and they prove nothing about this new restrictive legislation because the polls’ questions cover a far broader range of IDs than the actual laws accept as proof of identity. Many of the new laws do not accept a college student ID, for example, or an out-of-state driver’s license; but the polls drawing favorable responses encompass such IDs. As always, the devil is in the details. When Republicans won full control of 21 states in 2010, they promptly adopted measures to restrict and deter voting by minorities, the poor and the young, all key components of the Democratic base. One of the most effective measures requires voters to show one of a restricted set of photo IDs issued by either a state or federal government. Government studies have shown that these laws can prevent or deter significant numbers of poor and minority voters from voting. By 2015, 13 states had adopted what the National Conference of State Legislatures considers a “strict” voter photo ID law, including seven Southern states formerly subject to federal oversight under the Voting Rights Act.
Federal transportation officials will investigate whether Alabama violated civil rights laws by cutting back on motor vehicle services in predominantly black counties. The cutbacks already are under fire by civil rights activists who say they make it harder to get a photo ID, a requirement to vote under a new state law. Transportation officials wrote Wednesday to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, citing concerns over the reduction in services.
A federal lawsuit challenging Alabama’s law that requires voters to present identification before they can cast a ballot was filed Wednesday by Greater Birmingham Ministries and the Alabama NAACP. The lawsuit alleges Alabama violated the U.S. Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when the state enacted a photo ID law in 2011. Alabama’s secretary of state had estimated that at least 280,000 registered voters would be immediately blocked from voting, the lawsuit states “If the Photo ID Law remains in place, hundreds of thousands more eligible and registered voters will be barred from voting in the years to come,” according to the lawsuit.
The top federal prosecutor in North Alabama says she is reviewing a lawsuit filed Wednesday by groups challenging Alabama’s law requiring people to present photo identification before they can vote. “We received a copy of the lawsuit … We are certainly reading the lawsuit with great interest,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance. But Vance said it was “too speculative” at this point on whether the U.S. Department of Justice would get involved in the issue. But, she added, “we are acutely concerned with protecting the right to vote.”