Earlier this year, two different Dane County circuit court judges issued injunctions against the new voter ID law. The Attorney General appealed those decisions, and on March 28, those appeals were certified directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
The Second District Court of Appeals said that because the lawsuits raise significant legal issues that affect the essential functions of the state, and because quick resolution is essential, the Supreme Court should take the cases. The Fourth District Appeals Court agreed that it would be desirable from a legal and practical standpoint to consolidate the cases and send them both to the Supreme Court. Four of the Supreme Court’s seven justices must agree to accept the cases.
The G.A.B. has instructed local election officials to train poll workers on the photo ID requirements of the law so they will be prepared in case the orders blocking photo ID are reversed. However, the local election officials were instructed not to enforce the photo ID requirements for the April 3 election unless a new court ordered otherwise.
2011 Wisconsin Act 23, passed in May 2011, requires that a person wishing to vote present proof of identification before they are given a ballot. The law was applied for the first time during the February 2012 primary elections. Proponents argue that it helps prevent voter fraud, while others say it negatively affects minorities’ ability to vote.
There are a total of four lawsuits challenging the law. In addition to the two Dane County cases, there are two challenges to the law in federal court in Milwaukee.