Federal judge denies stay of Wisconsin voter ID ruling

[JURIST] A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by Wisconsin's Attorney General JB Van Hollen [official profile] to stay the his April ruling [JURIST report] against the state's voter identification law. The April ruling found that the Act 23 [text, PDF] requirement that all residents present photo ID when voting violated the Voting Rights Act [materials] and the US Constitution. Van Hollen asked both District Judge Lynn Adelman and the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit [official website] to put a hold on the ruling so that voters would be required to show photo identification at the polls in the upcoming November elections. Adelman stated that the request was denied because the chances that Van Hollen would win the case on appeal are very low.

Voter ID laws [JURIST backgrounder] have been a contested subject in the US recently. Earlier this month the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] 4-3 in favor of Act 23, further complicated the voter ID situation in the state. In order for the voter ID requirements to take effect in time for November's elections, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit must overturn the District Court's ruling. In May Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett announced [JURIST report] that the Office of General Counsel would not pursue an appeal in defense of the Commonwealth's voter identification law. The law, passed in March 2012, required all voters to submit a government issued photo ID in order to vote in all elections. In April a judge for the Pulaski County Circuit Court for the 6th Division struck down [JURIST report] an Arkansas voter ID law, finding that it violates the state constitution. In October the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously rejected [JURIST report] a movement to overturn the Tennessee Voter Identification Act, ruling that a requirement of government-issued photo ID for voters is constitutional.

 

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