Aug 13, 2016

Wisc DoJ Files Emergency Appeal to Permit Obstruction Laws for November Election

Wisconsin Republicans defend fig leafs, "efforts to disenfranchise voters likely to vote for the political party that does not control the state government," (Judge Richard Posner, Frank v. Walker; On Suggestion of Rehearing En Banc, Oct. 10, 2014), (Brad Friedman, (Mal Contends)

"Wisconsin’s voter ID law is part of 2011 Wis. Act 23, enacted the year after Wisconsin Republicans won the governorship and majorities in both houses of the legislature. Act 23 was the first of eight laws enacted over the next four years that transformed Wisconsin’s election system," writes Judge James D. Peterson in his sweeping July 29, 2016 opinion, (p. 2, One Wisconsin Now, Inc. v. Thomsen).

The Wisconsin election system transformation enacted by Wisconsin Republicans, and only Republicans, working to protect their elected offices by disenfranchising voters, is being attacked by voting rights workers and allied forces in federal court litigating for the foundational rights of Wisconsin citizens.

Two cases, Frank v. Walker and One Wisconsin Now. Inc. v. Thomsen, are being litigated at a torrential pace, comprising the most voluminous and grave Constitutional policymaking on voting rights Wisconsin has even seen, as the Sept 22 start date of Nov. Presidential Election voting approaches. As election law expert, Rick Hasen, noted about a 2014 flurry of Wisconsin litigation, "You don’t impose new requirements in the weeks before an election without adequate preparation which runs the serious risk of disenfranchising voters," referring the Purcell Principle.

Wisconsin's 2014 and 2012 general elections were heavily litigated but not like this year.

The Republican-enacted appellate unit at the Wisc Dept. of Justice—working torridly as its offices to defend voter obstruction laws—has developed into a legal war room for Republican voting obstruction efforts, (Mal Contends).

The latest news is the Wisconsin Dept of Justice's Emergency Appeal in One Wisconsin Now, Inc. v. Thomsen regarding what an Aug 12 DoJ press release calls "election logistics."

[Note: A judicial injunction is a court order. In the two Wisconsin voting rights cases, injunction may order a revision to, or a halting of enforcement of a law, or order the implementation of actions by officials regarding a law. A motion to stay is a request to halt proceedings and orders of a case. A motion to vacate is a request to revise, or overturn, (or lift) a judgement of a court.]

Here's is a link to the DoJ Aug 12 press release, and the DoJ Aug 12 Motion to Stay Judge Peterson's Aug 11 order denying a different DoJ motion to stay Peterson's July 29 injunction and his order and judgement.

For an excellent history of Wisconsin's voting war, see Ernest Canning's latest.
As noted at Mal in 2014, Ohio State Prof. Ned Foley raised critical Due Process Clause questions presented by the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit's stay of Judge Lynn Adelman's April 2014 injunction (April 29, 2014) of Wisconsin's Photo Voter ID law.

The Seventh Circuit's panel's changed the rules on Sept. 12 after 1,000s of residents had already cast their absentee ballots raising "severe due process claims," Foley offered after being reached by phone then.

Writes Foley in his article: "The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment has been properly interpreted to bar changes in the rules for counting ballots after they have been cast."

Here's the link to Foley's piece (brought to wide attention by Rick Hasen) that brought to the fore Due Process Clause concerns in 2014.

Now in 2016 we are 31 days out from the Sept 22 start of the Election Day balloting-mailing process, Sept 22 being the 47-day mark from Election Day mandated by Wisconsin statute, at which "official absentee ballot to each elector who has requested a ballot by mail" will be sent a ballot by Wisconsin election officials.

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