Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Arguments - WBAY

Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Arguments

Updated:
Madison -

The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday on the state's voter ID law.

Signed by Governor Scott Walker in 2011, the legislation was almost immediately bogged down with lawsuits.

Two groups suing made their arguments.

Attorneys for the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP argued the law infringes on people's rights to vote.

And attorneys for the League of Women Voters argued the legislature doesn't have the power to enact the law.

"The legislature does not have plenary authority to pass a law that says who may vote," Lester Pines said, an attorney for the league.

In a statement, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the law protects against voter fraud.

"It allows a registered voter to show up on election day and prove that he or she is the qualified registered voter he or she claims to be," Assistant Attorney General Clayton Kawski said in court Tuesday.

Thirty-four states, including Wisconsin, have passed some form of a photo ID law, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Each state's law varies in specific details, and not every law is implemented.

Some are held up, like Wisconsin's, because of court action.

"I suspect there's going to be some split on the bench," Charley Jacobs said, who studies the courts at St. Norbert College in De Pere. "It's not an easy question. And yes there's some sort of partisan elements to it because there's arguments about whether this impacts Democrats or Republicans and their supporters differently. But in a question like this about voting rights, the judges will earnestly want to get it right."

The court could decided to reinstate the law in time for the fall elections or permanently block it.

Two other lawsuits are pending in federal court in Milwaukee.

"This is sort of a unique state action," Jacobs said. "They're going to look to the state constitution and action of the state legislature to see whether or not they can divine some sort of outcome."

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