Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he would call a special legislative session if courts this spring do not uphold the state’s voter ID law, which has been blocked since soon after it was enacted. Shortly after taking over all of state government in 2011, Republicans passed a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. In 2012, two Dane County judges blocked the measure. Those cases are now before the state Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. Separately, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman is considering two other cases that argue the voter ID law violates the U.S. Constitution and federal Voting Rights Act. Adelman and the state Supreme Court may not rule until after the legislative session ends in early April. Any one ruling against the voter ID law would keep the measure from going into place. Walker told reporters he would closely monitor what the courts decided on voter ID to see if lawmakers needed to make any modifications. He said he would want a special session if the courts didn’t allow the requirement to take effect for the November elections.
“I think in the end people overwhelmingly have told us in this state they want to have voter ID,” Walker told reporters.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) criticized Walker’s comments, saying the governor should be focused on the economy. Walker’s stance “tells me he is not focused like a laser on anything but getting re-elected.”
“The last thing he should be focused on right now is figuring out a way to keep people from voting,” Erpenbach said.
If lawmakers approve a new version of the voter ID law, a new round of suits will follow, Erpenbach predicted.