Aug 10, 2016

Wisconsin Voter ID Status Unclear as Frank Easterbrook Takes Refuge in Fact-free Cocoon

Judge Lynn Adelman's injunction against the Republican-enacted photo-voter ID law has been stayed, or halted by three Republican-appointed appellate judges in the voting rights case, Frank v. Walker.

Judge Frank Easterbrook's order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reads in part, "Because the district court has not attempted to distinguish genuine difficulties of  the kind our opinion mentioned, 819  F.3d  at  385–86, or any other variety of substantial  obstacle to voting, from any given voter’s  unwillingness to make the effort that the Supreme Court has held that a state can require, there is  a substantial likelihood that the injunction will be reversed on appeal," (Wisconsin DoJ document).

With Judge James Peterson's injunction in One Wisconsin Institute, inc v. Thomsen, against a wide range of Republican obstruction laws, including voter ID, still in place, the question is, will voter ID be in place for the presidential election in November?

Writes Peterson, "I conclude that the IDPP, [ID Petition Process], is unconstitutional and needs to be reformed or replaced. Because time is short with the fall elections approaching, I will issue an injunction targeted to the constitutional deficiencies that I identify."

Even election law experts can only offer speculation on what happens next.

Leading Wisconsin writers on the voting rights battle, Jason Stein and Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, can only find sources to offer this in their coverage: "Voters should keep following the news — the rules could change again between now and the Nov. 8 presidential election."

What is clear is that the Republican Party of Wisconsin and voting rights activists are at cross purposes.

The most likely next legal moves include the State of Wisconsin enacting last-minute administrative rules changing the ID Petition Process, (IDPP), to make the rules acceptable to Judge Peterson to save the voter ID legal regime in One Wisconsin, and an emergency appeal to the full court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by voting rights attorneys in Frank v. Walker.

From the Washington Post, (Zapotosky):

Dale Ho, director of the Voting Rights Project for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that as many as 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin lack the right photo ID, although he acknowledged that not all of those people would vote and some probably could obtain documentation without much trouble. The ACLU had sued over the law.

As to whether requiring ID could tip the election in favor of the Republicans who support the law, Ho said: 'Obviously, the people behind these laws think it can help them. Whether or not it can, from our perspective, it really doesn’t matter. We’re just trying to make sure everyone can vote.'

As noted here, on September 22, 47 days from Election Day on November 8, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), will begin mailing absentee ballots to local election clerks who in turn mail ballots to several classes of voters, per Wisconsin Statute, including permanent absentee voters, (Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC)).

Wisconsin voters should receive absentee ballots around September 29.

It is a judicial doctrine, the Purcell Principle, that federal courts will not change election laws after the voting process has begun. So, the clock is ticking.

Still, the Republican voter obstruction project is continuing in other ways:

During Election Day yesterday, Republican election inspectors, began a tactical voter suppression action that resulted in this voter being denied my right to vote for 35 minutes. This voter suppression action apparently includes use of outright hostility, mocking, and prevention of voting by Republican election inspectors who are now individually named by the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

Similar reports, including one incident involving the mother of a Fitchburg, Wisconsin alder, were fielded by elected office holders who say the tactical suppression program may spell trouble for voters on November 8, Election Day.

The obstruction incident at Fitchburg Fire Station, Number 2 yesterday, will be investigated by the Dane County District Attorney's office and the Wisconsin Elections Commission, upon receipt of complaints and relevant reports, top officials of the two agencies said yesterday after being reached by phone.

No comments:

Post a Comment