A panel of three federal judges upheld Wisconsin’s voter ID law Monday, finding it is in keeping with the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act. The panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals last month ruled the voter ID law could be put in place for the Nov. 4 election between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democrat Mary Burke. Monday’s ruling is the panel’s final decision on the issue and puts the voter ID law in place for other future elections. Attention now turns to what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan or the full Supreme Court might do. Even before Monday’s ruling, the groups that challenged the voter ID law had asked Kagan to block the voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election. Kagan is the justice responsible for handling emergency petitions in cases before the 7th Circuit, which covers Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana. Writing for the unanimous appeals panel, Judge Frank Easterbrook determined Wisconsin’s law was essentially identical to an Indiana voter ID law that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2008.
Even if voter impersonation is rare, the Supreme Court found a voter ID law has other benefits, Easterbrook wrote — “it deters fraud (so that a low frequency stays low); it promotes accurate record keeping (so that people who have moved after the date of registration do not vote in the wrong precinct); it promotes voter confidence. “If the public thinks that photo ID makes elections cleaner, then people are more likely to vote or, if they stay home, to place more confidence in the outcomes.”
Also on the panel were Diane Sykes and John Daniel Tinder. Easterbrook was appointed by President Ronald Reagan. Sykes and Tinder were appointed by President George W. Bush. Before serving on the federal bench, Sykes was a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice.
The panel’s decision addresses two challenges brought by several individuals and groups, who were assisted in the litigation by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project. “This ruling is of little surprise, given the panel’s previous order,” said a statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s voting rights project. “The voters of Wisconsin deserve every opportunity to cast their ballot free of the obstacles imposed by this law, and we are evaluating our next step.”
Full Article: U.S. Appeals panel officially upholds Wisconsin voter ID law.