• WisPolitics


Thursday, October 9, 2014

 8:56 PM 

U.S. Supreme Court puts voter ID law on hold

The U.S. Supreme Court this evening put Wisconsin's voter ID law on hold just one month after a federal appeals court lifted the stay that had been preventing enforcement.

Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented. But they said there was a reasonable basis for the court's decision considering the proximity of the election.

"It is particularly troubling that absentee ballots have been sent out without any notation that proof of identification must be submitted," the dissenting justices wrote.

Still, the dissenting justices did not believe the appeals court had "demonstrably erred" in lifting the stay, which they said was required for the Supreme Court to block the ruling.

On Sept. 12, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals had lifted a stay that had prevented enforcement of the law. It then ruled Monday that Wisconsin's voter ID law was constitutional.

But opponents asked the Supreme Court last week to reverse the order lifting the stay. They then went back to the court this week asking the justices to stay the ruling finding the law constitutional.

Andrea Kaminski, executive director for the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, called the ruling "wonderful news and a victory for voters in Wisconsin."

"Clearly there was not enough time for election officials to educate voters, prepare new materials and implement the law in the short time before the election," she said. "We should be seeking ways to ensure that every eligible citizen can voter in our elections, not to keep voters away."

GOP Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said his agency will be "exploring alternatives to address the court's concern and have voter ID on Election Day." The short statement did not day what those alternatives may be.

"I believe the voter ID law is constitutional, and nothing in the court's order suggests otherwise," Van Hollen said. "Instead, the court may have been concerned that even with the extraordinary efforts of the clerks, absentee ballots that were distributed before the 7th Circuit declared the law valid might not be counted."

Read the order.

-- By JR Ross


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