Plans to appeal the controversial injunction a Dane County circuit judge placed on the voter ID law have been announced in the days following his decision.
Department of Justice spokesperson Dana Brueck said in an email to The Badger Herald that the DOJ plans to appeal Circuit Judge David Flanagan’s decision on grounds the law is constitutional.
“Illegal and fraudulent votes dilute and diminish the legitimate votes of qualified electors,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement. “It is proper and legal for the state to require a person appearing at the polls to prove that he or she is, in fact, the eligible, registered elector whose vote is to be cast.”
To combat the decision, the Republican Party filed a report Wednesday to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, requesting it investigate Flanagan for allegations that he signed the recall petition against Gov. Scott Walker.
Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Ben Sparks said 31 states currently require a form of photo identification to vote, and the law is for the protection of voters.
Sparks also said the decision made by Flanagan was a highly partisan one.
“This was simply another instance of a Dane County liberal judge trying to legislate from the bench,” Sparks said. “[Flanagan] signed the recall petition against Gov. Walker, so this represents a clear bias and a blatant conflict of interest. He goes and makes public his political opposition to a defendant over a case which he is presiding.”
University of Wisconsin political science professor Barry Burden said Flanagan was appointed to the court by Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson despite allegations that Flanagan signed the recall petition against Walker.
Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said in a statement the voter ID law disproportionately affects seniors and minorities.
“Instead of passing legislation that makes it harder for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote, the Legislature should focus on job creation measures that will get Wisconsin back on track,” Pocan said in the statement.
Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in a statement the voter ID law could cause harm to the traditions of strong voter participation in Wisconsin. Tate added Wisconsin law should work toward increasing voter turnout instead of disenfranchising it.
According to Burden, studies show that although the voter ID law does not seem to have a large impact on overall voter turnout, it does negatively impact groups including minorities and students.
Burden added Flanagan’s decision has had a motivational effect for Democrats in the Legislature and could have strong implications for the potential recall elections this summer.
“It has a more symbolic value,” Burden said. “Democrats this week finally feel like they’ve managed to stem the Walker agenda. This might create energy for Democrats going into the recall to turn out voters.”
Burden said the injunction will affect the presidential primary elections April 3, but it is unclear if the law will take effect for the summer recall election.
Burden also noted there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the ordeal due to the high number of cases involving the voter ID law. He added it could be months before the trial reaches appeals courts or the Wisconsin Supreme Court.