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Voter ID Law Struck Down for Second Time

Voters will not have to show a photo ID when they head to the polls on April 3, but they will still have to have certain residency requirements.

After ruling last week that a lawsuit from the League of Women Voters could move forward, Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess Monday issued a permanent injunction blocking implementation of the state's new Voter ID law.

This is the second time the controversial law has been struck down in less than a week. Just a few days ago, in answer to lawsuits filed by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, and at least two other groups.

While that ruling took away the requirement to show a photo ID, other measures remained in place, such as requiring voters to sign a poll book and to live in the same district where they will cast their ballot for 28 consecutive days.

Reid Magney, spokesman for the state Government Accountability Board, said the agency doesn't have any comment about the judge's ruling. After Flanagan's decision last week, the agency, which oversees elections in Wisconsin, issued a short document to help quell the confusion among municipal and county clerks.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesperson for Gov. Scott Walker, said activist judges are interfering with common sense. When Walker signed Voter ID into law last fall, he called it, "common sense reform."

"It’s a shame activist Dane County judges continue to stand in the way of common sense," said Werwie. "We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID."State Democrats are pleased with Niess' decision, saying it was just a matter of time.

"We already knew that Scott Walker's efforts to suppress voting in Wisconsin offended our state's norms and traditions. Now, for the second time, a judge has ruled that it offends Wisconsin's Constitution," party Chairman Mike Tate said in a written statement.

Voters did show a photo ID during the Feb. 21 primary election and were poised to do so again for the April 3 general election, which includes the presidential primary. Now, Niess' ruling means the requirement will no longer be in place.

Still the state Republican Party is confident the law will pass muster in the end.

"We are confident that Wisconsin's current Voter ID law will be upheld during all 2012 elections," said Ben Sparks, the party's communications director.

On Friday, state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the court to stay Flanagan's injunction, saying the back-and-forth will confuse voters. After Niess' decision, he issued a statement saying the state Department of Justice will file an appeal.

“Wisconsin’s voter ID law is consistent with the constitution, and I will appeal this decision,” he said.

There was a trial scheduled to determine whether or not a permanent stay would go into effect, but Niess' Monday ruling pre-empted the trial.

Tate certainly expects motions to be filed, but said the injunction gives state residents time to think about whether they want their freedoms curtailed.

"We fully anticipate today's ruling to be challenged," he also wrote. "But today, the second time a judge has ruled against this heinous law, provides Wisconsin a moment to reflect on just what was given away by Scott Walker's Tea Party Republicans when, instead of focusing on the issues facing our public, they rushed instead to limit their freedoms."

Jim Bob March 17, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Bren an intdesting historical note: Before the Democrats under Gov. Gaylord Nelson passed the legislation to allow for public unions (late 1950s), the moderate Republicans were in favor of allowing all public workers to former unions -- except police, firemen and state police. The reason opposing the police, etc. was they felt there could be some power and authority conflicts when it came to negotiations and a variety of public power issues.
mau March 18, 2012 at 03:36 PM
It's unacceptable when the Fitzgerald's do it, but acceptable when the Kennedy's do it.
mau March 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Nancy is quite arrogant in deeming that other posters are ignorant and lack critical thinking skills.
mau March 18, 2012 at 03:47 PM
The UN is no better than the NAACP. Keep them out of our business. Who went to the UN asking for help in Iraq, Afghanistan or any place else?
Bren March 18, 2012 at 05:09 PM
erik1779, thank you for blowing this value-free comment through your bubble wand and sending it wafting into the clouds, where it will gradually descend to take its rightful place in that rose-tinted fantasy land that looks like ads from the 1950s.
morninmist March 18, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Yes, it should have stated Scott Fitz (not Jeff). But Jeff Fitz is running for the US Senate and will not run for re-election in the Assembly. ........... Randy1949 10:45 am on Saturday, March 17, 2012 I think you meant Scott Fitzgerald, but otherwise, spot on.
morninmist March 18, 2012 at 11:39 PM
For those who missed the lasted on this issue. http://www.politiscoop.com/us-politics/wisconsin-politics/819-appellate-court-refuses-to-stay-voter-id-injunction.html Appellate Court Refuses to Stay Voter ID Injunction Sunday, 18 March 2012 09:12 Paul I. Tascoupe Voting comes at a price WisconsinMadison – On Friday an appellate court denied Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s (R) request, on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker's administration, to stay an order issued earlier this month by a Dane County Circuit Court that temporarily blocked Scott Walker’s voter suppression law. The voter suppression law, otherwise known as "Act 23", was enacted by a Republican majority last year. Since then, Judge David Flanagan temporarily enjoined enforcement (temporary injunction) of the law, on the grounds that it was in violation of the Wisconsin Constitution's guaranteed right to vote. Then in less than a week, a second circuit court Judge Niess issued a similar ruling about the disenfranchisement of voters in Wisconsin, though this time, issued a permanent injunction. Niess stated in his ruling: Act 23 was unconstitutional "on its face" and that Wisconsin's Republican Governor and the GOP-controlled Legislature impermissibly sought to "eliminate the right of suffrage altogether for certain constitutionally qualified voters."...
Jim Bob March 19, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Back in the 1950s, Wisconsin had the Knowles brothers -- Warren and Bob -- in power positions. It seems like a silly argument about two brothers, be they named Kennedy or Fitzgerald.
Bren March 19, 2012 at 05:37 AM
Jim Bob, no argument, there really are 3 Fitzgeralds in the Wisconsin legislature right now. Daddy Stephen Fitzgerald was recently head of the State Patrol in 2011, as former Sheriff of Dodge County he was the least experienced/qualified of the finalists for the position. I mentioned the Fitzgerald family because of Stephen's crony appointment (and pension triple-dip). I find it interesting.
morninmist March 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Well, the reign of the Fitz's will end soon I hope (Scotty will be voted out now that he has been recalled; Jeff is running for US Senate but I think Tammy or Tommy will beat him out. Which leaves Daddy Fitz. I do not know how long the appointment is slated for). Dodge county is in Scooty Fitz's district if I am mistaken.
Nancy Hall March 19, 2012 at 10:16 PM
The aspect of the voter ID laws that might be contrary to the US Constitution is the fact that ID might cost money. That violates the 24th Amendment prohibition of poll taxes. I believe the Wisconsin law is being challenged on grounds that it violates the Wisconsin Constitution, which states age and residency requirements and nothing else. The argument is that the Legislature does not have the authority to abridge the state Constitution. Does anyone else think it's strangely ironic that people who seem to identify themselves as conservatives want to embellish both the WI and the US Constitutions with barriers to the process of voting?
Nancy Hall March 19, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Proof of identity and proof of address have been required for registration for at least a decade and probably longer. This law had to do with requiring ID to vote, not to register. People who have driver's licenses are required to show them and the ID number is recorded on the form. Anyone with a DMV ID who lies and says they don't have one would probably be subject to prosecution. You're not allowed to lie when registering to vote. People who are not on record with the DMV can furnish the last four digits of their SSNs. These are checked against the SSA's data base and the name and numbers have to match. People who are registering also have to prove address. So, somebody could assume the name and SSN of a dead person and then open up a WE energies account in the person's name at a real address, where WE Energies is not already providing service (because they won't open up an account for a fake address), at least 28 days before an election and then register to vote using the fake identity and fake WE account. It seems unlikely that someone would go to all that trouble in order to cast a single vote, however. I think it's more likely that the number of fake registrations is pretty close to zero because the system is designed to prevent fraudulent registration. In any case, this has nothing to do with showing ID to vote. Someone who went to the trouble of stealing someone's identity in order to register would probably have no trouble obtaining a fake photo ID.
Nancy Hall March 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I think many of the people posting here are well informed and possessed of excellent critical thinking skills. I also think there are a handful who have both major gaps in their knowledge of the subject at hand and supreme confidence in their own ignorance. Posting the truth is not arrogant. What takes true arrogance is the posting of misinformation, again and again, in order to push an agenda.
The Big T March 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Get used to it folks. Integrity and politics just don't mix for our democrats! Obviously the Left is afraid of losing illegitimate votes. I don't hear anyone on the right crying about it. Now I would think two black men wearing paramilitary uniforms with Black Panther logos and one with a club standing in front of a polling booth in Pennsylvania in 2008 might disenfranchise a few voters. But Eric Holder and the Obama administration didn't think so. Please explain that one to me.
Nancy Hall March 22, 2012 at 10:11 PM
@mau...Bush went to the UN Security Council to ask for approval to invade Iraq and didn't get it because there was no reason to invade Iraq. Afghanistan is a UN operation. The US is part of a UN peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. The US got UN permission to escalate its involvement after 9/11 because bin Laden was supposed to be hiding there (probably was, actually, but he moved). The UN authorized Afghanistan because the legitimate Afghan government was being threatened by the Taliban rebels and asked for help.
mau March 22, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I love this "The US is part of a UN peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. The US got UN permission to escalate". UN peacekeeping is an oxymoron. They should just call it what it is UN sponsored war. There are many Americans who do not agree with any president, democrat or republican, who goes to the UN for "permission". Especially when all the other member nations high tail it out of there when the going gets tough and leaves the US to foot the bills and sacrifice our soldiers. The Russians couldn't win in Afghanistan so the UN authorized the US to go in a fight a losing battle. Who determines what is and what is not a legitimate government. The UN?
Lyle Ruble March 22, 2012 at 10:42 PM
@Nancy Hall & mau...The UN authorization is one thing, but this has become a NATO operation because of the attack on the U.S. and treated as an attack on all of them. Bush sought UN approval for his invasion of Iraq and essentially denied. He pursued it unilaterally and we wound up with an unnecessary war, expending lives and treasure.
Nancy Hall March 22, 2012 at 10:46 PM
@mau...you asked what the UN had to do with Iraq and Afghanistan and I told you. You don't seem to like my answer, but your disapproval does not alter the facts. I'm sure there are lots of Americans who don't like the idea of US involvement with the UN, but the Constitution does allow for treaties and it also states that treaties are the law of the land. Here's the text: "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
Nancy Hall March 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM
@Lyle...I got a message that you'd added a comment to this thread and I saw the comment in my e-mail account, but not here in the blog. OK. Anyway...I don't disagree with your description of how Afghanistan escalated. It's hard to give a fair summary in just a few words. The UN still considers it to be an "assistance mission" and just voted to extend it for another year, so they're still in the thick of it as well.
Lyle Ruble March 22, 2012 at 11:16 PM
@Nancy Hall...I don't know how it wound up in your e-mail, I placed it on the thread. I agree that the UN mission in Afghanistan is humanitarian.
mau March 22, 2012 at 11:52 PM
You are talking about 2 different subjects, UN Peacekeeping missions vs UN Treaties. I am sure you know that all members of the UN are obligated to provide x amount of troops and x amount of dollars to the UN. It is a whole different thing with treaties. A treaty is sent to the Senate for ratification and that is usually where the hold-up is. The president can agree to a treaty but should send it to the Senate to ratify. I do believe that the president can go around the Senate but that is dangerous territory. Bill Clinton was famous for working around treaties with Executive Orders. That is how the our most important national treasures were designated World Heritage Sites under the jurisdiction of the UN.
mau March 23, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Aren't all wars unnecessary, expending lives and treasure. To be more precise, these are not wars. They are military actions. Only Congress can declare a war. I believe a lot of the mickey mouse name calling has escalated since Michael New refused to wear the UN blue.
Lyle Ruble March 23, 2012 at 12:11 AM
@mau...Most wars are unnecessary. I don't care if there was a formal declaration of war or not, Afghanistan and Iraq were clearly wars. Initially I could support the mission to go after Bin Laden and the Taliban, beyond that no. Iraq was completely unnecessary and a terrible waste. Much of what we are now experiencing in the Middle East can be laid right at the feet of the Neo-Cons and George W. pushing for an invasion of Iraq.
Nancy Hall March 23, 2012 at 12:45 AM
The UN is a treaty organization. So is NATO. Treaty status is implicit in our membership. This is an enormously complex subject. However, it's my understanding that when our involvement in Korea was debated in the '50s, the fact that the Constitution accepts the authority of treaties was cited as among the reasons Truman used to authorize US participation in the UN military action in Korea. Since then, other presidents have followed Truman's example. That's why Bush went to the UN before he went to Congress when he wanted to invade Iraq.
mau March 23, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Lyle, Lyle, just can't let go of GW can you. Good thing he has big shoulders. Has there really been a good military excursion since WWII? There are wars in all those countries from the Black Sea and Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, through Republican and Democrat administrations, and it's all GW's fault.
Randy1949 March 23, 2012 at 01:35 AM
No, Mau, only Iraq is GWB's fault. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and we ran up a lot of debt for an unnecessary war. We should have focused on Afghanistan and wrapped that war up quickly.
Alfred March 23, 2012 at 01:44 AM
George W. Bush did a wonderful thing by liberating the folks in Iraq and putting Saddam to trial, he handed over to Little Barry a winning war in Afghanistan...only for Barry Obongo to FUp and now run like the coward we know all liberals are.....
Nancy Hall March 23, 2012 at 01:49 AM
@Alfred...Yikes. Your take on history is beyond revisionist. Bush didn't put Hussein on trial. He was tried and executed by Iraqis. after that, Bush stuck around. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan was a "winning war." Neither was won. Neither will ever be won. The best for which we can hope is that the Taliban doesn't completely take over when we leave Afghanistan.
Alfred March 23, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Bush caught him, you forgot that important part. Iraq is democratic, Barry Obama has screwed up Afghanistan to the point it makes the Russians look good.
James R Hoffa March 23, 2012 at 05:29 AM
WTH - bumping an old thread with a good old fashion completely off-topic blame Bush yet again??? WOW - the left is really getting desperate!

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