Despite being found a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act by multiple federal courts reviewing several challenges to Wisconsin's Republican-enacted Photo ID voting restriction, the law will stay in place this November, as per a new federal court ruling issued Friday. The court's reasoning is based on an assurance by the state that free Photo IDs will be made more readily available and easier to obtain than they have been in the past.
Late last week, by way of a unanimous decision [PDF], the full U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal denied competing appeals and cross appeals filed in the two cases challenging Wisconsin's restrictive voting law.
Earlier this month, the plaintiffs in these two cases, Frank v. Walker and One Wisconsin Institute v.Thompsen, sought emergency relief from the full 7th Circuit because it appeared, based on a decision by a conservative three-judge 7th Circuit panel, that nearly ten percent of Wisconsin's electorate was at risk of disenfranchisement via the Republican-enacted statute.
However, as the full court noted in its Friday decision, subsequent to the filing of those emergency petitions, the state of Wisconsin assured the court that it "has enacted a rule that requires the Division of Motor Vehicles ('DMV') to mail automatically a free photo ID to anyone who comes to DMV one time and initiates the free ID process." The court added:
The ruling did not sit well with ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Young, who, pointing to Wisconsin's failed record over the past five years to "get IDs into the hands of voters who need them," said "there's no reason to believe that the state's latest eleventh-hour 'emergency' procedures will work any better than its past failed policies"...