Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter ID law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wisconsin voter ID law. Show all posts

Jul 2, 2013

Prediction: Wisconsin High Court to Rule Voter ID Violates Constitution

Present your papers or you cannot vote,
 Republicans want Wisconsin Act 23 back
to block the wrong kind of voters
If-ya-can't beat 'em, disenfranchise 'em. The purpose of photo ID can be seen in the adverse impact on the poor, the elderly, minorities and students, none of whom tend to vote for GOP candidates. This is by design.

But the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV blew a major voting rights case, and badly, reversing the decision in League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc and Melanie G. Ramey, et al v. Scott Walker, et al.

And word is getting around fast in the Wisconsin legal community some 35 days after the publication of the opinion.

An editorial in today's Capital Times is optimistic that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will ultimately rule that the GOP-passed Voter ID law is unconstitutional.

Most jurists contacted the last two years agree the photo voter ID law will be struck down under the Wisconsin Constitution's expansive guarantee to vote.

Two jurists, with whom I have not spoken, disagree. The most prominent being Richard M. Esenberg of the Marquette University Law School and University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School Professor, Ann Althouse.

The case at hand, and there are three other legal challenges pending, is League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669).

A permanent injunction was issued on March 12, 2012 by Judge Richard G. Niess, followed by a Court of Appeals opinion reversing Judge Niess' permanent injunction on May 30, 2013.

A petition was filed on June 28, 2013 for a hearing before Wisconsin Supreme Court. [Note: If you want to keep up with the four Wisconsin Voter ID cases, I recommend the Ohio State University Election Law at Moritz, an institution deserving of a MacArthur Fellowship genius grant for their work.]

Judge Neiss ruled that Wisconsin's photo ID law was unconstitutional "on its face," a heavy burden as noted by the appellate court reversing Neiss' ruling some 15 months later.

Neiss' opinion reads that the "right to vote belongs to all Wisconsin citizens who are qualified electors, not just the fortunate majority for whom [the photo ID law] poses little obstacle at the polls."

Wisconsin's Constitution, Article III, Section 1 reads: "Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

The Constitution is explicit is listing the types of laws that can be enacted excluding otherwise eligible voters in Section 2 (under Article III - Suffrage). These laws deal with residency, registration and felons and citizens judged incompetent.

As Niess notes: "2011 Wisconsin Act 23 [the Photo Voter ID law] ... provides that qualified electors under the Wisconsin Constitution may not vote in an election unless they also satisfy the additional requirement that they display acceptable government-sanctioned photo identification either at the polls or to election official by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday following the election."

Niess found that a constitutionally qualified, registered voter who on election day walks over to the polling table and is asked by an election inspector, in essence, "your papers, please," presents a new unconstitutional qualification to vote—a photo voter ID as prescribed by the Republican Party.

So, he found Wisconsin Act 23 unconstitutional on its face.

Presenting a photo ID is what Act 23 demands as a necessary condition in the plain language of Act 23.

Yet, incredibly the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV says although this is true and Act 23 does deprive a qualified elector of his right to vote at an election, the Act is not "so burdensome that it effectively denies potential voters their right to vote ... ."

The appellate court's ruling is narrow, and much of the opinion claims their conclusions rest on the briefs of the plaintiffs speaking to the view that a qualification is not really a qualification, but ask around:  The Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV whiffed.

Writes Niess:

Article III is unambiguous, and means exactly what it says. It creates both necessary and sufficient requirements for qualified voters. Every United States citizen 18 years or older who resides in an election district in Wisconsin is a qualified elector in that district, unless excluded by duly enacted laws banning certain felons or adjudicated incompetents/partially incompetents.

The government may not disqualify an elector who possess those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutory-created qualifications not contained in Article II such as a photo ID.
Althouse in a short column argues against Niess' reasoning:

To agree with the [Judge Niess], I think you need to see a person without an ID as a type of person who is being excluded from the right to vote [apart from the constitutionally permissible felons and those judged-incompetent in Article III, Section 2] ... There's just a step in the process that hasn't been completed. To say not presenting an ID is excluding you from the category of people permitted to vote seems like saying people who don't go to the polls when the polls are open are being excluded. It would be strange to say closing the polls at 8 is creating a new category of disqualified voters — those people who do not arrive before 8.
The Wisconsin Constitution does empower the legislature and governor to regulate elections. But the constitutional text is explicit and limited in Article III, Section 2, and enumerates five different categories empowering the legislature and governor to regulate elections.

Which of the five categories in Article III, Section 2 would Esenberg and Althouse contend photo voter ID falls?

Since when is what Althouse calls a "step" not a qualification when this step is either impossible or impractical for constitutionally qualified, registered voters to achieve?

Judge Niess on p. 3 of his opinion explains the primacy of the Wisconsin voter, and quotes a Wisconsin Supreme Court case, Dells v. Kennedy, 49 Wis 555, 6 N.W. 246, 246-247 (1880) (spelling in original), written by Chief Justice Orsamus Cole (1880-1892) [Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice (1855-1892)].

One wonders if Esenberg and Althouse will throw in the towel after a reading of Dells v. Kennedy. Perhaps the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District IV members may wish as well to take a read.

Chief Justice Orsamus Cole writes in part in Dells v. Kennedy (1880):

The elector possessing the qualifications prescribed by the constitution is invested with the constitutional right to vote at any election in this state. These qualifications are explicit, exclusive, and unqualified by any exceptions, provisos or conditions, and the constitution, either directly or by implication, confers no authority upon the legislature to change, impair, add to or abridge them in any respect. In the language of the chief justice, in Page v. Allen, p. 58 Pa. St. 346: "These are the constitutional qualifications necessary to be an elector. They are defined, fixed and enumerated in that instrument. In those who possess them is vested a high, and, to a freeman, sacred right, of which they cannot be divested by any but the power which established them, viz., the people, in their direct legislative capacity. This will not be disputed. For the orderly exercise of the right resulting from these qualifications it is admitted that the legislature must prescribe necessary regulations as to the places, mode and manner, and whatever else may be required to insure its full and free exercise. But this duty and right inherently imply that such regulations are to be subordinate to the enjoyment of the right, the exercise of which is regulated. The right must not be impaired by the regulation. It must be regulation purely, not destruction. If this were not an immutable principle, elements essential to the right itself might be invaded, frittered away, or entirely exscinded [cut out], under the name or pretence of regulation, and thus would the natural order of things be subverted by making the principle subordinate to the accessory. To state is to prove this position. As a corollary of this, no constitutional qualification of an elector can in the least be abridged, added to, or altered, by legislation or the pretence of legislation. Any such action would be necessarily absolutely void and of no effect."

No registry law can be sustained which prescribes qualifications of an elector additional to those named in the constitution, and a registry law can be sustained only, if at all, as providing a reasonable mode or method by which the constitutional qualifications of an elector may be ascertained and determined, or as regulating reasonably the exercise of the constitutional right to vote at an election. If the mode or method, or regulations, prescribed by law for such purpose, and to such end, deprive a fully qualified elector of his right to vote at an election, without his fault and against his will, and require of him what is impracticable or impossible, and make his right to vote depend upon a condition which he unable to perform, they are as destructive of his constitutional right, and make the law itself as void, as if it directly and arbitrarily disenfranchised him without any pretended cause or reason, or required of an elector qualifications additional to those named in the constitution. It would be attempting to do indirectly what no one would claim could be done directly.

Jul 1, 2013

Civil Rights Groups Petition Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear Historic Voter ID Cases

GOP will not stop voter obstruction efforts
The Wisconsin Voter ID case, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker (Case 2012AP001652), has
been assigned for oral argument by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

In the wake of the gutting of the Voting Rights Act by the U.S. Supreme Court, the years-long Republican Party's project to obstruct minority, young, the elderly and homeless voters from casting votes has generated increased public scrutiny.

Wisconsin's voter ID cases are expected to draw nationwide political and legal attention.

An attorney challenging Wisconsin's Voter ID law petitioned the Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear another voter ID case, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 2012AP584).

The petition was filed on June 28.

No jurists, none of whom are associated with the two cases, contacted for this piece will venture a guess for when the Voter ID cases will be heard and decided by the Court.

It is certainly within the realm of possibility that the Court will not decide the two cases prior to the November 2014 Wisconsin elections for attorney general and governor.

Several jurists say they would guess the two cases will not be consolidated.

The 2012-2013 Supreme Court administrative calendar lists dates no arguments and the calendar ends on July 31.

Two federal court voter ID cases remain as well on Wisconsin's Voter ID law.
Wisconsin state voter ID court cases are:
  • League of Women Voters of Wisconsin v. Walker (Case 11CV4669) - permanent injunction issued on March 12, 2012 by Judge Richard G. Niess. Court of Appeals opinion reversing trial court decision (a permanent injunction) filed May 30, 2013. (Appeal Number 2012AP000584 - AC) Petition was filed on June 28, 2013 for Wisconsin Supreme Court hearing.
  • Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP v. Walker (Case 11CV5492) - permanent injunction order issued on July 17, 2012 by Judge David T. Flanagan. Wisconsin Supreme Court assigned oral arguments on June 26, 2013 for an unspecified date(s).

  • Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1 "Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

Apr 11, 2013

Scott Walker's Law and Disorder

Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are fast-tracking proposed legislation that would curtail the power of circuit judges' orders issuing temporary injunctions [legal blocking] of unconstitutional laws.

This soon-to-be legislative act is a GOP power grab and an attack on the judiciary branch of government, specifically restricting the power of judges to protect citizens from unconstitutional infringements by the legislative and executive branches of state government.

The purpose of a temporary injunction is to maintain the status quo and prevent irreparable damage before the legal questions of a law are decided in a court of law.

The standard for issuing a temporary injunction includes the element that those asking for the blocking (temporary injunction) of a law have a high likelihood of success when the merits are weighed in a legal hearing. This is a high legal bar to reach.

The significance of the new Republican initative—now being circulated around the legislature as more Republicans sign on as co-sponsors with a deadline of April 15—is that unconstitutional laws may remain in effect for (possibly) long periods of time during which the Republicans, who now control the legislature and the governor's office and the Supreme Court, may use the cover of unconstitutional laws for corrupt, partisan purposes.

The proposed bill would radically change existing statuary law regarding the legal effect of judicial injunctions, restraining orders, or other orders suspending or restraining (halting through temporary injunctive relief) the enforcement of any state statute.

This soon-to-be bill turns the power of temporary injunctive relief on its head, and demands that so-called aggrieved parties of judges' orders against likely unconstitutional laws, be given new power in this proposed reworking of the judicial process that is (as usual in Wisconsin) supported solely by the Republican Party.

Voter ID Law-An Example

For example, consider Wisconsin's Voter ID Law singed into law in May 2011, some four months after Scott Walker assumed office

A request to temporarily stop (enjoin) Wisconsin's Voter ID law (passed solely with Republican support) was granted by Dane County Judge David Flanagan on March 6, 2012 in the case, Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, et al v. Walker.

During the subsequent Voter ID trial held on April 16-April 19 and May 4, 2012, the Voter ID law was prevented by the March 6, 2012 injunction order of Judge Flanagan from being enforced because of the clear violation of the fundamental (and expansive) right to vote that Wisconsin citizens have under the Wisconsin Constitution.

After, and as a direct result of the April-May 1012 trial, Judge Flanagan issued a permanent injunction on July 17, 2012.

Between March 6, 2012 and July 17, 2012, there were three elections held in Wisconsin, on April 3, May 8, and June 5, 2012.

In the three elections combined, 100,000s of registered, constitutionally qualified Wisconsin voters would have been stopped from being able to vote—per the objective of the Republican Party of Wisconsin—had this newly proposed legislative act been in effect (assuming of course a Republican attorney had filed petition for review [review by an appellate-level court] within 10 days of the March 6, 2012, temporary injunction ordered by Judge Flanagan).

The proposed act by Republicans extends the time their unconstitutional laws are in force, inflicting as is Scott Walker's wont and history, damage onto political opponents and the rights of Wisconsin citizens, and advancing GOP objectives.

The Republicans claim they need this proposed act to reduce the "legal uncertainty" surrounding GOP laws that are being struck down as unconstitutional.

Following is a reproduction of the memo from Republican legislators seeking co-sponsors.
TO: All Legislators
FROM: Rep. Dave Craig, Rep. Al Ott, Sen. Glen Grothman and Sen. Leah Vukmir
RE: Co-Sponsorship of LRB-0926/1: Relating to injunctions on state statute.
Date: April 10, 2013

Deadline for Co-Sponsorship: Monday, April 15 at 12pm

We are introducing LRB 0926/1 to address the legal uncertainty Wisconsin residents and businesses are subject to as a result of injunctions on state statutes, ordered by judges only elected by a fraction of our state’s population. Increasingly, questions have been raised as to a) whether individual circuit court judges’ rulings impact the state as a whole in regards to the implementation of state law; and b) whether a ruling from a judge - elected by a small portion of the state - should prevent the statewide implementation of legislation passed by the duly elected statewide legislature, and signed by our Governor, having also been elected statewide, without allowing for an expedited review by a higher court.

Under this bill, if a circuit court or court of appeals places an injunction, restraining order, or other order that, upon entry, suspends or restrains the implementation of any state statute, it would be immediately appealable to a higher court. If such an appeal is made to a higher court within 10 days of entry of the lower court’s order, the lower court’s order will be immediately stayed pending an order by a higher court or a final and unappealable order disposing of the entire case. Nothing in this legislation would prevent any court from entering an order that suspends or restrains the implementation of a state statute, or prevents a higher court from removing the stay should the higher court determine the lower courts order was reached appropriately.

This legislation would facilitate a fair and more efficient judicial system by ensuring that one judge cannot prevent the implementation of state law without an expedited review by a higher court. This legislation would also ensure that Wisconsin residents and businesses have a greater degree of certainty as to whether a law is or is not in effect during the disposition of a legal challenge. Lastly, this bill reaffirms that the three branches of our government remain separate, but equal.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring LRB 0926/1, please reply to this email by 12:00pm on Monday, April 15, 2013. Unless you request otherwise, you will be listed as a co-sponsor on both LRB 0926/1 and its Senate companion LRB-1131/1. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Rep. Craig’s office (6-3363) or Sen. Grothman’s office (6-7513).

Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau

Generally, under current law, an interlocutory or final judgment issued by a court in an action for an injunction may not be stayed after the entry of the judgment or during the pendency of an appeal. This bill makes an injunction, restraining order, or other order that, upon entry, suspends or restrains the enforcement of any state statute (order) immediately appealable to an appellate court or to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. If a petition for interlocutory review is filed within ten days after the entry of the order, the order is stayed until one of the following occurs:

1. The appellate court or the Supreme Court grants the petition for interlocutory review and subsequently orders that the automatic stay be lifted.

2. The appellate court or the Supreme Court denies the petition for interlocutory review and simultaneously orders that the automatic stay be lifted.

3. Entry of a final and unappealable order disposing of the entire case.

The bill permits the appellate court or the Supreme Court to enter such orders as are necessary to the resolution of the petition.

Jan 14, 2013

Wisconsin Supreme Court Denies GOP Move to Bypass Courts on Voter ID-Obstruction Case

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has again refused to bypass a court of appeals ruling today holding the Wisconsin GOP voter ID law unconstitutional on its face.

Some four weeks before the February primary election of GOP Supreme Court justice, Patience Drake Roggensack, naked acts of political corruption appear unwise.

The Court's decision is a sign that when the voter ID cases do reach the Wisconsin supreme court, the four GOP justices will not rule against the Wisconsin Constitution and overturn the two permanent injunctions of the lower courts because this action would be too blatant a display of corruption—a view that is conventional wisdom among Wisconsin jurists contacted the past months who are not involved in the cases.

The high court similarly refused to take up the GOP voter ID cases in April 2012.

The court also refused today to consolidate the two state cases that are now before two different Wisconsin appellate courts.

Two state appellate courts have held the GOP voter ID law is permanently enjoined from taking effect.

The voter ID law was passed with only GOP votes, with no GOP dissents, and against the counsel of every good government and civil rights organization.

The motion refused by the court was made by Wisconsin's partisan attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen who faces an election in 2014.

Wisconsin's Constitution, Article III, Section 1—"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."—strongly protects the right of citizens to vote against the efforts of politicians obstructing citizens' constitutional right to vote.

A government that undermines the right to vote imperils its own legitimacy as a government 'by the people, for the people and especially of the people,' (Judge Richard) Niess wrote in a decision striking down the GOP law. 'It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution' (Treleven, WSJ).

Two other federal cases also have also been filed against Wisconsin's voter ID law:  Frank v. Walker, (Case 11cv1128), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin); and Jones et al v. Deininger et al (Case 2:12-cv-00185), (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin).

In a federal case, evidence has been obtained by Monica Wedgewood, an intern working for the ACLU, that military veterans would be prevented from voting, if the GOP law were to take ever take effect.

Dec 6, 2012

Wisconsin's ALEC State Chair Seeks to Amend Constitution to Require ID at Polls

Republicans just admitted their voter ID obstruction law is unconstitutional.

So, naturally the remedy to keep unwanted voters [uppity blacks, Latinos and others passing themselves off as good Americans] from voting is to change our Wisconsin Constitution, the foundation that well protects our right to vote.

Brendan Fischer has the story at PR Watch.

Republicans continue their march, going Soviet.

Jun 14, 2012

95-Year-Old Bayfield Woman Can’t Get A Voter ID

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin — Last year, nearly a dozen new states passed voter ID laws. These laws may have prevented the nine cases of voter impersonation that occurred between 2000 and 2007, but the Brennan Center estimates they could collectively disenfranchise more than three million people this year. In other words, for each case of voter impersonation these laws prevent, nearly 350,000 citizens may lose their right to vote.

By Scott Keyes

ThinkProgress traveled to Wisconsin recently to investigate how the new law, if allowed to stand by the state judiciary, would affect voters in the state. (Two judges recently blocked the law, but their ruling will be appealed.)

One Wisconsinite we spoke with, 95-year-old Florence Hessing of Bayfield, said that she’d voted in every election without any problems until voter ID was enacted. However, her driver’s license expired when she stopped driving at the age of 90 (she’s now half-blind) and because she was likely born via midwife, she didn’t have a birth certificate required to get a new photo ID. Lawyers were eventually able to find an exemption for Hessing that will ultimately allow her to vote, but thousands of other Wisconsinites might not be as lucky. Indeed, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study found that approximately 300,000 lack photo ID.

Watch a short video about Hessing and other potential victims of new Wisconsin’s voter ID law:
You can read about other people denied their voting rights by new voter ID laws here.

Jun 13, 2012

Voter ID would have made June 5 election a disaster

I worked the polls on June 5.

And I can state as an empirical fact [from conversations alone with numerous voters asking questions] that had the Republicans' unconstitutional voter ID law been in effect on June 5, the resulting confusion, frustration and obstruction would have resulted in many voters not casting their votes in high turn-out wards, or being turned away.

This is precisely part of what Republicans wish for, especially among those pesky Milwaukee blacks and other minorities showing up at the polls trying to pass themselves off as good Americans. What nerve.

The 7:00 A.M. - in-line-by-8:00 P.M. polling place hours experienced presidential-level turn-out that kept staff very busy over 14-hour shifts.

Had each voter been asked for a voter ID—Republicans ludicrously claim that 10,000s of voter impersonations occur each election in Wisconsin—the checking of only GOP-approved IDs [no VA cards] for date, name, and picture verification would have added some 45 seconds for each voter.

Multiply that by some 2,100 voters and then compound the time and a hectic, under-staffed polling place becomes ultra-hectic and dysfunctional.

Joe-down-the-street, registered and voting for decades showing up at the polls ... sorry, Joe: You cannot voter without GOP-approved ID, the GOP's new constitutional qualification for your fundamental right.

Republicans kept up their voter fraud nonsense—repeated without facts by the dumb-downed Wisconsin press—up to the weekend before June 5 and of course after the election.

"State Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, who represents the Waterford area ... said if voter ID had been in place she thinks voters would have been able to have more confidence in their votes [in a major race changing party control of the state senate], without disenfranchising anyone." (Jones. Racine Journal-Times, June 12)

Watch for the word "confidence" to be repeated many times between now and November.

"Chaos," "obstruction" and "voter impersonation" not so much.

Reporter Stephanie Jones repeats the Lazich lie without insertion of facts knocking down the fabrication; and another GOP lie gets free coverage from writers apparently as dumb as Jones who leaves the "without disenfranchising anyone" nonsense to stand alone.

The GOP lies continue, as the story of a major political party trying to halt legal voters from voting in Wisconsin goes uncovered as a scandal.

GOP misleading voters on voter impersonation and voter ID should be an ongoing story in a healthy democracy.

Mar 29, 2012

Lawless GOP Justices May Uphold GOP Voter Obstruction Law

No vote for you!
Update: Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID cases (April 16, 2012)

The four GOP justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court may overturn a century of precedent and Article III of the Wisconsin Constitution but the press continues to dumb-down its reporting to he-said, she-said processes, missing critical constitutional issues in the coverage.

After reporting that two appellate courts are sending the Voter ID law to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, AP writer Scott Bauer reports the, "law's opponents say it will disenfranchise minority groups, the poor, students and senior citizens who lack photo identification."

Bauer might have noted the empirical case demonstrating this fact of disenfranchisement, but reading the legal briefs and Judge Flanagan and Niess' opinions appears a bridge too far for Bauer's piece. C'mon, it's right there in the State Journal links.

Bauer continues: "Supporters say it's needed to stop any potential voter fraud, while opponents counter the potential for wrongdoing is overblown because so few cases have been reported."

Actually Bauer could have noted the number of voter impersonation cases prosecuted going back decades is zero, a fact that would place the GOP effort at obstruction in its accurate context.

And for giggles, he could have thrown into his report the fact that you have to register to vote before you can vote; see Wisconsin Voter Registration Application, a rigorous process in which a voter must attest to accurate information under penality of state and federal law.

The last presidential election also featured a major GOP voter obstruction effort, widely ridiculed on its lack of merit, worth 15 words.

The effect of Bauer's reporting, like that of most of the press, makes it seem like voter impersonation is common and easily achievable. So Scott Walker and the GOP can ignore history, ignore the Wisconsin Constitution, ignore over a century of case law, and repeat the talking point of "common sense" which the stenographers in the press will repeat without futher factual analysis.

Ben Adler in The Nation quotes Sam Munger, a researcher at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy who says the GOP justices will rule 4-3 to overturn the Wisconsin Constitution.

Two cases remain in federal court, and observers are cautiously optimistic because of the mountain of empirical evidence of voter disenfranchisement—that Bauer fails to even mention—will be the basis of the two federal lawsuits—
Wisconsin State Cases
Wisconsin writer John Peterson notes the Wisconsin Supreme Court could refuse to hear the two state cases and let the injunctions against the voter ID law stand, but Peterson thinks along with many others that the four partisan, corrupt GOP justices will toe the GOP line, the Wisconsin Constitution and voters be damned.

As we have written here before: This one decision will determine if Wisconsin is a lawless, unconstitutional state; or a democracy where the rule of law and the rights of citizens guaranteed in the Wisconsin Constitution hold sway over nihilistic politics.

Wisconsin Constitution, Article III, Section 1
"Every United States citizen age 18 or older who is a resident of an election district in this state is a qualified elector of that district."

Mar 8, 2012

GOP Complaint Not Serious

Update: Scott Walker says he has decided voter IDs are fine, so we should "move on". Walker also says the U.S Supreme Court has "upheld the constitutionality of requiring photo IDs to vote."

No, the Court rules in Crawford v. Marion County Board of Elections (2008) the Indiana voter ID statute withstands a facial [high-hurdle] challenge, absent evidence of voters unable to vote or unduly burdened. In Wisconsin to the contrary, there is a mountain of evidence of disenfranchised voters cited by Judge Flanagan. And, in federal court, the GOP statute will be heard as an as-applied challenge, with plenty of evidence of disenfranchised and unduly-burdened voters. Walker is not being honest, assuming he has even glanced at Crawford, and to suggest that we simply move on is absurd.
We read this morning the "state Republican Party filed a complaint Wednesday against Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan, claiming that Flanagan should have told the parties involved in a lawsuit against the state voter ID law that he had signed a petition to recall Gov. Scott Walker."

Not that Judge Flanagan accepted free legal services from a litigant like the GOP Justice Gableman.

No, Flangan's sin is he signed a petition to recall Scott Walker and didn't tell litigants about this publicly available information in the voter ID case.

All along the GOP has been pushing the absurd line that the voter ID law is meant to combat non-existent voter impersonation fraud [can the GOP cite even one case?] at the polls; hence the IDs are needed to preserve the integrity of the elections.

The GOP's complaint with Flanagan is not his ruling that disenfranchising 100,000s of Wisconsin voters to protect against voter impersonation fraud looks to be unconstitutional—under the Wisconsin constitution.

It's that Flanagan wants Walker recalled.

Why does Walker and GOP think that every elected state Democrat, and all the voting rights and civil liberties groups believe the GOP Voter ID law is voter obstruction of Wisconsinites to stop us from electing the representives we wish?

It's because Walker knows well the Voter ID bill is all about stopping legal voters from casting too many votes that would cost the GOP political power, the Wisconsin constitution and people be damned.

Flanagan's alleged sin, like millions of other Wisconsinites, is seeing Scott Walker as the conniving, corrupt politician who has lost the faith of the Wisconsin electorate, and who has a demonstrated contempt for our democratic processes.

It's fine and proper for a judge to hold to these views and rule on voter ID laws in a case that will affirm the fundemental rights of all of us, protected from being stripped of our constitutional qualifications that we use to go the polls and decide what we want to do with our state.

Flanagan writes that voting in Wisconsin "is vital to the very existence of our state as a democracy in which political power, whether that be executive, legislative or judicial, is derived from the free consent of the governed."

That's true. And believing that Scott Walker is hostile to this idea is fine.

Feb 22, 2012

Voters Not Happy on First Day of Voter ID Law

Wisconsin Tech school students: Still waiting
on word from Scott Walker
Update III: Madison voters turned away at polls for lacking photo ID. "She was fairly recently in a car accident and couldn't make it to the DOT to get a Wisconsin ID," said Melanie Sax, the chief elections inspector at the polling location at Trinity United Methodist Church on Vilas Avenue. The woman, who does not drive, has neither a driver's license nor a state ID.

That woman is Marge Curtin—disenfranchised.

Update II: 69-year old veteran Gil Paar was shocked when poll workers told him his photo I.D. from the V.A. wasn’t on the accepted list. ... “There’s a possibility that a veteran could have only this type of I.D., because he’s had a stroke, let’s say, up at the V.A. hospital. And because of that, he had his driver’s license taken away. So case in point, he would have only this Veterans Administration I.D. through the hospital.

“And they’re telling me I can’t use it, I couldn’t use it. this is not right. you’ve got a guy who serves, does his time in the Air Force, or Army or the Navy, and then he comes home and can’t vote? What the f—- did I go in for?” (Racine Jounral-Times)

Update: U.S. senators on Tuesday asked the Government Accountability Office to study what they called an "alarming number" of new state laws that will make it "significantly harder" for millions of eligible voters to cast ballots this November.

As an observer from the NAACP looked on, the 200-plus voters in one Fitchburg voting district yesterday presented an electorate irritated with the GOP's new voter ID requirements.

Wisconsin's voter ID law was passed without any Democratic votes, and no dissenting Republican votes.

Rejected, per the new statute, yesterday was an Army Reserve ID that did not include an expiration date.

Many comments from voters were made to election workers: Including "What's next, retina scans?" and "Here to pay my poll tax."

One woman who was inexplicably purged from the polls and tried to re-register objected to the voter registration process as too invasive.

Though the voter ID law, Republicans say, is intended to stop rampant voter impersonation at the polls, not one case of voter impersonation in Wisconsin has been prosecuted going back decades.

But Republicans remain optimistic they can stop enough Democratic-leaning citizens from voting to sway a close election, concentrating on suppressing college and tech students, the elderly and black voters in Milwaukee.

A research report by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute shows that over 177,000 elderly persons in Wisconsin aged 65 and older do not possess a driver's license or state photo identification.

Jul 19, 2011

U.S. DoJ Challenge to Wisconsin Voter Suppression Law Possible

Voting Right Act - 1965
Will the U.S. Justice Department stop the assault on voting rights for minorities, the elderly, the rural and the poor?

Update: Sen. Dave Hansen; Confusion, Voter Suppression Law Obstruct Green Bay Voters.

The fact is right now: Before you can vote in Wisconsin you need to present a proof of residency and fill out a multi-question application to register to vote.

You need to attest you are who you say you are, are not a felon on probation or parole, are a U.S. citizen, among other questions answered under  penalty of federal law.

So, this being the case, how is the massive, GOP-claimed voter fraud occurring?

It's not, and the Voter ID law [set to take effect in Wiscosnin next Spring] is just a way to make it more difficult to vote with the objective of suppressing the votes of Democratically leaning voters.

It's possible U.S. Attorney General Holder will actually do something about the voter suppression as a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 [renewed on July 27, 2006 for 25 years as signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush, with the powerful support from House Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.].

On June 29, 2011 Sen. Herb Kohl along with 18 other U.S. senators signed a letter to AG Holder expressing concerns about highly restrictive photo identification requirements under consideration or already signed into law in several states, including Wisconsin.

Sen. Ron Johnson did not sign the letter. No Republican senators signed the letter.

The Honorable Eric Holder

Attorney General
United States Department of Justice
Robert F. Kennedy Building
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We are writing to express our concerns about highly restrictive photo identification requirements under consideration or already signed into law in several states. These measures have the potential to block millions of eligible American voters without addressing any problem commensurate with this kind of restriction on voting rights. Studies have shown that as high as 11% of eligible voters nationwide do not have a government-issued ID. This percentage is higher for seniors, racial minorities, low-income voters and students. Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and we urge you to protect the voting rights of Americans by using the full power of the Department of Justice to review these voter identification laws and scrutinize their implementation.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act vests significant authority in the Department to review laws before they are implemented in covered jurisdictions. As you know, the burden of proof in this preclearance process is on those covered jurisdictions, which must be able to show that legal changes will not have a discriminatory impact on minority voters. New photo identification laws, for instance, must be subjected to the highest scrutiny as states justify these new barriers to participation. In Section 5 jurisdictions, whenever photo identification legislation is considered, the Department should closely monitor the legislative process to track any unlawful intent evinced by the proceedings.

Restrictive photo identification requirements are also being considered or have passed in states and jurisdictions that are not covered by Section 5. The Department should exercise vigilance in overseeing whether these laws are implemented in a way that discriminates against protected classes in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Additionally, federal civil rights law - 42 U.S.C. 1971(a)(2)- prohibits different standards, practices or procedures from being applied to individuals within a jurisdiction. We believe the Department should ensure that these photo identification laws do not violate this statute or other federal voting rights statutes.

Highly restrictive photo identification requirements at the polls can make it more difficult for well-intentioned voters to cast their ballots, and as far as America's civil rights trajectory is concerned, that sort of effect takes America in the wrong direction. We urge you to exercise your authority to examine these laws so that voting rights are not jeopardized. We also request that you brief us on the efforts the Department is undertaking to ensure these new laws are implemented in accordance with the Voting Rights Act.

Thank you for your work protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

Michael F. Bennet, United States Senator
Harry Reid, United States Senator
Dick Durbin, United States Senator
Charles E. Schumer, United States Senator
Patty Murray, United States Senator
Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator
Mary Landrieu, United States Senator
Benjamin L. Cardin, United States Senator
Sherrod Brown, United States Senator
Mark Begich, United States Senator
Jeff Merkley, United States Senator
Kirsten E. Gillibrand, United States Senator
Ron Wyden, United States Senator
Tom Harkin, United States Senator
Tom Udall, United States Senator
Herb Kohl, United States Senator