Voting rights advocates celebrated last month after a string of court rulings against a group of restrictive voting laws seemed to knock out some major hurdles to the ballot this fall. But now they’re having to fight tooth and nail to keep those wins on the board. On Wednesday, a federal appeals court reinstated a strict version of Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which in July had been significantly softened by a lower court. Also on Wednesday, an agreement was announced to soften Texas’s ID law, but lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case say they’ll need to closely monitor the state’s compliance. And in North Carolina, voting rights advocates worry that Republican-controlled local election boards could still restrict access to early voting. Courts are still weighing other states’ voting rules that could have a big impact this fall. Among them are both cuts to early voting and a controversial purge of voter rolls in Ohio, as well as Kansas’scontroversial proof of citizenship requirement for those registering to vote.
The biggest setback for access to the polls was the Wisconsin ruling, in which a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on last month’s district court decision that eased Wisconsin’s strict ID law. The district court had said the state must let voters without ID cast a ballot as long as they signed an affidavit attesting to their identity. But the appeals panel said that remedy didn’t distinguish between voters facing genuine burdens in getting an ID and those merely displaying an “unwillingness to make the effort that the Supreme Court has held that a state can require.”
That means the strict version of the law will be in effect unless Wednesday’s decision is reversed or blocked, either by the full 7th Circuit or by the U.S. Supreme Court. Court watchers say that after the recent semi-retirement of a conservative judge, a majority of the 7th Circuit now appears to be skeptical of ID laws. But whether they’ll vote to reverse Wednesday’s order is hard to predict.
Full Article: The Fight Against Strict Voting Laws Pushes On – NBC News.