Jul 23, 2016

Wisconsin AG Fights Pro-Voting Rights Decision; GOP Unlikely to Prevail in Appellate Court

High-priority communication from Wisconsin Elections Commission
to local Election Clerks alerts officials to make available affidavit
for November 8 general election. Memo follows federal judge's
preliminary injunction of Wisconsin's voter obstruction law
Republicans Face Uphill Climb to Stop Voters in Appellate Court

A major Wisconsin voting rights victory in federal court this week has been appealed by the Republican-led Wisconsin Dept. of Justice.

The case is Frank v. Walker, (MoritzLaw). The case will be heard at the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit where the law of the case reads in part, the "right to vote is personal and is not defeated by the fact that 99% of other people can secure the necessary credentials easily," (p. 4, Frank v. Walker; April 12, 2016), (Canning, The Brad Blog).

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman's decision this week halts Wisconsin's Republican-enacted voter obstruction law designed to stop non-Republican-voting citizens from casting votes, (Mal Contends).

Adelman has issued a temporary injunction, (halting), of the law until Wisconsin allows citizens without approved photo voter ID to vote after signing an affidavit attesting to the difficulty in attaining voter IDs.

The next election in which Adelman's opinion will be in force is the November 8 general election.

The difficulty for 1,000s of registered voters in obtaining IDs has been found as fact in the 2013 federal trial, Frank v, Walker, decided by Judge Adelman in April 2014.

Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel released a statement on July 19, reading: "We are disappointed with the court's decision. We will decide the next course of action after Wisconsin Department of Justice attorneys have had time to fully review and analyze the court's decision," (WPR).

It did not take Republicans long to review, analyze and decide to appeal the voting rights victory.

The Wisconsin Republicans are moving for an expedited hearing on their motion to stay, (stop), Adelman's injunction mandating the option of an affidavit to protect the right to vote.

Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit which will hear the appeal will likely deny the Republican motions.

In April 2106, the Seventh Circuit's Judge Frank Easterbrook remanded Frank v. Walker to Adelman's district court writing in part, "Plaintiffs’ approach is potentially sound if even a single person eligible to vote is unable to get acceptable photo ID with reasonable effort. The right to vote is personal and  is not defeated by the fact that 99% of other people can secure the necessary credentials easily," (p. 4, Frank v. Walker; April 2016).

Republicans Hostile to Wisconsin Population

Part of Republican political strategy in Wisconsin is to harass the minority and college-age populations so frequently disfavored segments of the citizenry move out of Wisconsin.

Repulbican efforts to defend each voter obstruction law in state and federal court amount to 100s of hours of legal work for a partisan end to destroy the liberties of disfavored Wisconsin citizens.

Republican Press Release in Frank v. Walker

The Republican press release dated July 22 is reproduced below:

MADISON, WI – Today, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ), on behalf of the State of Wisconsin, appealed the preliminary injunction entered in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on July 19, 2016, requiring the State to adopt an affidavit exception to Wisconsin’s voter identification law for the November 2016 election. Along with the appeal, DOJ also filed a motion in district court seeking a stay and moved the court to expedite its decision on its motion seeking the stay.

Under Wisconsin law, any eligible voter who applies for a free photo ID at the Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will receive such an ID for voting purposes within six days, which will be automatically renewed through the November election. Even after November, each eligible voter will continue to have a free photo ID unless the DMV makes a finding of fraud, ineligibility, or refusal to respond to repeated DMV inquires for six months, or the voter specifically requests cancellation of the DMV process. Under this robust process, any eligible Wisconsin voter can obtain a free photo ID for voting purposes using reasonable efforts, making the district court’s affidavit procedure entirely unnecessary.

In its motion seeking a stay, DOJ explained that the district court’s decision is contrary to binding precedent from the United States Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The district court’s affidavit procedure creates a loophole in Wisconsin’s voter ID law, incorrectly informing voters that they can vote without a photo ID, even if they have not made any reasonable efforts to obtain such an ID. For instance, under the court’s ruling, if voters explain on their affidavit that they simply did not want to go to the DMV, those voters could still vote, despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court has rejected that specific argument. As the Supreme Court has held: “making a trip to the [D]MV, gathering the required documents, and posing for a photograph” is not a substantial burden on the right to vote. Rather, this is an entirely reasonable, modest requirement, which is properly designed to ensure the integrity of elections and public confidence in the fairness of the result.

No comments:

Post a Comment