Voter ID will not be in place for November elections after Wisconsin Supreme Court denies request to fast-track hearings
Post by Emily Mills on 9/28/2012 4:26pm
The Wisconsin Supreme Court denied a motion by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to hear his appeal of two injunctions against a voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year.
“There will be no voter ID law in effect for the presidential election on Nov. 6,” the plaintiff's attorney, Lester Pines, told the Washington Post.
Van Hollen had hoped to bypass the appellate court and have the Supreme Court hear a consolidated appeal in two separate lawsuits, specifically to see the new law requiring residents to present photo ID in order to vote be enforced for the presidential election.
The Attorney General made the request in August, saying that, “No quarter has been given in defending Voter ID. My action today, now allowed under the Court's rules of procedure, gives the Wisconsin Supreme Court another opportunity to bring prompt, clear resolution to the law and settle this matter in advance of the November elections.”
Van Hollen had also asked to have the two lawsuits, one filed by the League of Women Voters and the other by the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP, consolidated, but that motion was also denied.
In the decision the Supreme Court justified denying the request by calling it "premature."
"Wisconsin's long tradition of expanding access to the vote caught a break today," said Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate. "While we oppose further efforts to erode the rights of Wisconsinites, it's good news for our small "d" democratic values here in Wisconsin that the Court opted to remove any confusion as voting begins."
The Court clarified that it agreed the subject matter in both cases was similar enough that, if they were to grant a review, they would hear oral arguments for both on the same day and take them under advisement at the same time.
However, since appellate briefs in the NAACP lawsuit are not yet complete, it's too soon to to hear them both now, the Court explained.
Van Hollen said in a statement that he was “very disappointed” by the high court decisions.
“The Voter ID law protects the integrity of our elections,” he said. “The result is that the injunctions against the Voter ID law remain in effect and will, in all likelihood, be in effect for the upcoming November elections.”
On March 6, 2012, Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan ordered the Government Accountability Board and Governor Walker to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, pending trial of this case and further order of the court.”
On March 12, 2012, Dane County Circuit Judge Judge Richard Niess declared "2011 Wisconsin Act 23’s photo ID requirements unconstitutional to the extent they serve as a condition for voting at the polls." The judge also permanently enjoined the defendants "from any further implementation or enforcement of those provisions."
Information about voter registration, polling place locations, and more can be found at the new Wisconsin Voter Information website at myvote.wi.gov.
Emily Mills is Editor-At-Large for Dane101, as well as Editor of Our Lives Magazine. She is also a freelance writer, photographer, actor, and musician (drummer and singer in local band Little Red Wolf). Originally from several states up and down the Midwest Emily has called Madison home since 2000. Contact her at