Feb 25, 2014

GOP-leaning Justice: 'I'm troubled by having to pay the state to vote"

Justice Patience  Roggensack
In the oral arguments in the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker et al (one of two cases heard today in the Wisconsin Supreme Court) challenging Wisconsin's Photo Voter ID law, Act 23), Justice Patience D. Roggensack took a skeptical tone against Assistant Attorney General Clayton Patrick Kawski in referencing the documentation those without GOP-prescribed ID would have to acquire and the money they would have to spend.

Roggensack appeared incredulous in stating that paying money to the state is necessary to vote.

Here is a transcription of the comment and question made to Assistant Attorney General Kawski defending Act 23 in court:
My concern is that for someone who doesn't have a birth certificate, there has to be a payment made to get that birth certificate [to get a license or acceptable ID and then be qualified to vote].

Now, it may not apply to me, I already have a driver's license. But anybody that doesn't have a birth certificate, it appears from the statute [Act 23] that there's a requirement that they make a payment, and the payment goes to the state.

And what bothers me is that this feels—although not universally as was the case in Harper (Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966)) where there was $1.50 poll tax—it's still a payment to the state to be able to vote. That bothers me. Can you address that? ... I'm troubled by having to pay the state to vote.
The two cases heard are League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker et al and Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker et al.

Two cases challenging Act 23 are being deliberated in federal court as well, and plaintiffs are seeking an injunction in those cases: Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128) and League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin v. Deininger (Case 2:12-cv-00185).

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