The state’s top election official said Tuesday he told the state Department of Justice he did not want to immediately appeal two decisions blocking the state’s new law requiring photo IDs at the polls because voters should have plenty of advance knowledge of what rules will be in place for the April 3 election. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen did not heed that request and on Thursday appealed both decisions. “We advised the attorney general’s office that it would be better if nothing changed before April 3,” said Kevin Kennedy, director of the state Government Accountability Board. “We don’t want the public in a yo-yo type situation.” Dana Brueck, a spokeswoman for Van Hollen’s Department of Justice, said in a statement the best way to prevent voter confusion would be for the appeals courts to quickly reinstate the photo ID requirement.
“The attorney general and the Department of Justice have a duty to defend state law and have the legal authority to make decisions regarding appeals and litigation strategy,” Brueck said in a statement. “We have determined that an immediate appeal is in the best interests of the state. To address any risk of confusion in administering the upcoming elections, the Court of Appeals can, and should, stay the injunctions, as we’ve asked.”
This month two Dane County judges enjoined the accountability board, which runs state elections, from requiring voters to show photo IDs at the polls. Judge David Flanagan issued a temporary order blocking the law for the April 3 presidential primary and local elections, saying the Milwaukee chapter of the NAACP and immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera were likely to succeed in their challenge to the law.