Wisconsin League of Women Voters files suit against voter photo ID law

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October 21, 2011

By: Greg Janetka

Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin state chapter of the League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in Dane County Court yesterday challenging the new law requiring voters to show photo ID. The first of its kind in the nation, the suit argues the law unconstitutionally bars an entire class of people from voting.[1]

Article III, Section 2 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides two situations when the right of suffrage may be revoked from otherwise qualified electors -

(a) Convicted of a felony, unless restored to civil rights.

(b) Adjudged by a court to be incompetent or partially incompetent, unless the judgment specifies that the person is capable of understanding the objective of the elective process or the judgment is set aside.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, named as a defendant in the suit, issued a statement contending that the law helps to protect the integrity of elections. "We require it to get a library card, cold medicine, and public assistance. I will continue to implement common sense reforms that protect the electoral process and increase citizens' confidence in the results of our elections," he stated.[2]

The new law, set to be in place for the February 2012 elections, was used during this past summer's recall elections in a "soft implementation" phase where voters were asked for photo ID but not required to show it. In some cases that led to confusion, but no major issues were reported. The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, responsible for enforcing the state's elections, ethics and campaign finance laws, is launching a plan to educate the public on the new law at an estimated cost upwards of $600,000.[3]

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