Attorney General Van Hollen Wants Voter ID Law in Place by November Elections
After the state's highest court refused to hear the cases, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Tuesday he will appeal to the state's Supreme Court, asking it to overturn two Dane County judges' rulings that the law is unconstitutional.
State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pushing to have the state's Voter ID law in effect for the November election cycle, once again urging the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn the rulings of two Dane County judges.
The law requiring voters to present identification at the polls was in effect for the Feb. 21 primary, but was later ruled unconstitutional twice in one week in March by two separate judges, in response to suits filed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Milwaukee and immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera.
Van Hollen announced Tuesday morning he would ask the state's highest court to take up the two rulings, bypassing the state Court of Appeals. Additionally, Van Hollen said he would ask the Supreme Court to immediately stay each of the two injunctions against the law. In April, the state's high court refused to hear the cases.
“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 said in a statement Tuesday.
“People in this state are very frustrated that a common sense law enacted by the Legislature and signed by the governor has been blocked," he added. "While I respect the judicial process and the right to challenge a law in court, it is time for our Supreme Court to take control of these cases."
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released a statement Tuesday arguing the law disenfranchises seniors, veterans and students, and Van Hollen's attempt to have it reinstated "reeks of partisanship."
“Regardless of whether you are a Republican, Democrat or independent, everyone can agree that we shouldn't play politics with something as important as voting — every eligible voter deserves to have the opportunity to make their voice heard at the ballot box," Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said.
“This deeply flawed legislation has already, correctly, been halted by two Wisconsin courts," he said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Scott Walker said he couldn’t possibly know if the state Supreme Court will take up Voter ID, but he does think the law is common sense and protects the integrity of the voting process.
"(Voter ID) is a common sense proposal that can withstand any legal challenge," he said Tuesday during a stop in Sturtevant. "This is something Republicans and Democrats can agree on because it's pretty simple. If you need a photo ID for public assistance and just about anything in today's society, then why isn't it reasonable to protect one of the most important things we have and that is the integrity of each and every vote."
The governor also addressed critics who claim the law disenfranchises some segments of the electorate.
"There's really no barrier that can be established (because) ID's are available at no cost to people who don't have means," he said.
(Updated 3:50 p.m. Tuesday with comments from Gov. Scott Walker)
Patch Editor Heather Asiyanbi contributed to this report.