• WisPolitics


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

 10:53 AM 

Federal appeals court stays ruling creating affidavit process to vote in November

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has stayed a federal judge's decision that would have created for the November election an affidavit process allowing those who have trouble obtaining an ID to still cast ballots.

The three-judge panel concluded in Wednesday's order "both that the district court’s decision is likely to be reversed on appeal and that disruption of the state’s electoral system in the interim will cause irreparable injury."

Wisconsin Republicans in 2011 passed a voter ID law that has largely been tied up in the courts since and only in effect for a handful of elections, including Tuesday's primary. The 7th Circuit originally upheld the law. But it also later ruled that those who are eligible to vote but cannot get a qualifying ID with "reasonable effort" are entitled to an accommodation allowing them to cast a ballot.

It sent the case back to U.S. Judge Lynn Adelman, who ordered the state create an affidavit process. His order would have allowed voters to declare who they are while allowing them to cite a number of reasons for not being able to obtain an ID, including: lack of transportation; lack of birth certificate or other documents needed to obtain photo ID; and disability or illness. He also ordered that no one could challenge the sufficiency of the reason given for failing to obtain an ID.

The 7th Circuit found rather than attempting to identify voters who had made a reasonable effort to get an ID, Adelman issued an injunction permitting any registered voter to declare they met the standard "even if the voter has never tried to secure one, and even if by objective standards the effort needed would be reasonable (and would succeed)."

The court found the state DOJ, which is appealing Adelman's ruling, is likely to succeed on appeal because Adelman failed to "distinguish genuine difficulties" in getting an ID from "any given voter’s unwillingness to make the effort that the Supreme Court has held that a state can require."

Adelman's ruling was one of two federal judges issued ordering the state to make accommodations for those who have trouble obtaining a required ID.

The DOJ also has requested an emergency stay of a ruling by James Peterson in Madison. He took issue with the process Wisconsin created to let those without an ID obtain a temporary receipt that lets them vote while they apply for the card.

Under the state process, those applying receive a receipt that can be renewed. Peterson, though, ordered the state give those applicants a permanent ID they can lose only if the state determines they are ineligible to vote.

AG Brad Schimel praised the 7th Circuit's decision in the Adelman case, vowing, "I will continue to represent the State of Wisconsin and defend the rule of law until the case is resolved.”

Gov. Scott Walker also chimed in: "Voters in Wisconsin support voter ID, and our administration will continue to work to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

-- By JR Ross


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