Update: Wisconsin Voter ID law struck down as unconstitutional, April, 2014.
Faced with overwhelming evidence of voter obstruction and zero cases of in-person voter fraud, U.S.
District Judge Lynn Adelman did not laugh the Wisconsin Dept. of Justice attorneys out of court in the trial of two cases challenging the Photo Voter ID law when one DoJ attorney offered a new justification.
As Adelman drafts what will likely be a long, scholarly order and opinion that may become the basis of a landmark voting rights case, Adelman can be justifiably amused by the GOP's absurd argument.
Reports Marie Rohde and Andrew Harris in Bloomberg from Milwaukee yesterday: Assistant Wisconsin Attorney General Clayton Kawski said, "Picture IDs will deter voter impersonation fraud, if not prevent it."
It has been established that there are zero cases of in-person voter fraud out of 10s of millions of votes cast in Wisconsin.
Now, attorney Kawski argues that all the trial testimony showing registered and constitutionally qualified Wisconsin citizens being prevented from voting—as even Wisconsin J.B. Van Hollen in 2012 has admitted will happen—said the rights of Wisconsin citizens to vote are trumped by the asserted power of the photo ID law to "deter" voter impersonation fraud, a crime which the Wisconsin Dept of Justice cannot produce even one case of being committed.
This does beg the questions that if in the absence (the voter ID law is enjoined in state court) of this new constitutional qualification, zero impersonation fraud occurred, why would the law now deter a crime that does not happen.
And if, as the GOP says, election integrity is the objective, does not the obstruction and prevention of registered, constitutionally qualified voters from voting subvert election integrity.
"If, as we hope, the injunction is overturned before the election, those relying on the injunction may be left without an opportunity to obtain their IDs by the date of the election,” Attorney General Van Hollen said in March 2012. No opportunity to obtain their IDs by the date of the election, so citizens cannot vote, Van Hollen said clear as day.
See The Wisconsin Department of Justice Asks Court to Stay Order Enjoining Voter ID Law (Wisconsin Dept of Justice; March 9, 2012), and Wisc AG Admits Voter ID Law Will Stop Legal Voters from Voting.
Yes, costs and opportunity to obtain voters' restrictive GOP-crafted IDs as a new condition to vote are a problem under the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions.