The Wisconsin Supreme Court will not consider lawsuits against the state’s voter ID law until after the Court of Appeals decides on them, meaning voters will likely not have to show a photo ID in the November elections.
The Court decided to delay taking on the case, saying the motion to bypass the appeals court is “premature.”
One of the plaintiffs, Latino advocacy group Voces de la Frontera, was pleased with the ruling. Voces spokesperson Joe Shansky said the Supreme Court decision to wait is an indication of the law being “unconstitutional and immoral.”
“If it was in place for the election, it would have been blocking people who have every right to exercise their democratic right to vote from doing so,” Shansky said.
Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the court to join the two state lawsuits and bypass the appeals court. By doing so, Van Hollen said he hoped the high court would remove the two injunctions placed on the law that have barred it from being in place in every election since February.
“The voter ID law protects the integrity of our elections,” Van Hollen said in a statement released after the decision. “The result is that the injunctions against the voter ID law remain in effect and will, in all likelihood, be in effect for the upcoming November elections. Despite this setback, I continue to believe that the voter ID law is constitutional and I will continue the battle to have the law upheld.”
The law’s author, Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, thanked Van Hollen for trying to have the law implemented for the presidential election.
He criticized the two judges who placed injunctions on the law for being from Dane County — the part of the state regarded as most politically liberal — and said the law will eventually be validated by the courts.
“A duly enacted law of the state of Wisconsin is being delayed from its inevitable implementation by activist courts in Dane County,” Stone said in a statement. “I remain confident that this law will ultimately be found constitutional and that it will be fully re-instituted.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Voces sued against the law, saying the requirement to have a photo ID at the polls is unconstitutional. The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin also challenged that provision in another lawsuit. Both won their cases in circuit courts earlier this year.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law is the most restrictive in the country, Common Cause in Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck said. He said he was not surprised at the high court’s decision and added the court would need more time to evaluate the case and an overturning of the decision so close to the election would cause confusion.
“I’m not surprised the Supreme Court didn’t take the case because there are some very deep and very strong constitutional issues here that have to be sorted out,” Heck said.
He said people should know only the photo ID provision will not be in place, so changes such as those in residency requirements will still be in place.