Law requires voters to show photo ID
May 30, 2013- MADISON, Wis. —A Wisconsin law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls is constitutional, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
The 4th District Court of Appeals decision stems from a lawsuit the League of Women Voters filed challenging the mandate. The league argued the law violates the Wisconsin Constitution's explicit language on every person's right to vote. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess sided with the league in March 2012, ruling the requirement would disenfranchise voters who lack the resources to obtain photo identification.
The appeals court reversed his decision, concluding the league failed to show the mandate amounts to an additional qualification to vote and failed to show the law is unconstitutional on its face.
"From the start, we have defended the constitutionality of Wisconsin's voter ID law," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.
"While today's decision is an important step toward full vindication of the law, we recognize that other challenges are still pending that address different issues. We will continue to defend the law and look forward to favorable decisions in those other cases as well," Van Hollen said.
The league's attorney, Lester Pines, had no immediate comment on the decision.
Republican lawmakers passed voter photo ID requirements two years ago, saying the move was needed to combat election fraud. The league wasn't the only group that challenged the law. The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, winning a permanent injunction blocking the law.
That injunction still stands, although the state Justice Department has asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals to review the case.