Fed. Judge Strikes Down WI Voter ID Law

A federal judge has overturned Wisconsin’s photo ID to vote law and did so in the strongest possible terms, pointing out that fear of voter fraud is vastly exaggerated because voter impersonation is virtually non-existent. Indeed, the state government could not identify a single case.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman found not just that the law disproportionately deters minorities and low-income individuals from voting; but also that purported instances of voter impersonation are so infrequent, if they exist at all, that “no rational person could be worried about it.”

He points out that Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) lawyers could not identify a single instance of known voter impersonation in Wisconsin’s recent past, even though that is the primary justification for the requirement that voters show photo identification. He also found that 9 percent of registered voters lack the sort of qualifying ID required under state law — enough to change the outcome of the election, particularly because many of those same individuals who lack an ID also lack the birth certificate necessary to obtain an ID.

“[T]he photo ID requirement results in the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color” in violation of the Voting Rights Act, Adelman concluded. While Adelman’s ruling focuses on the Voting Rights Act, a state ruling also found that a voter ID law would overrule 132 years of Wisconsin precedent.

Wisconsin is one of the many states in recent years where Republicans have called press conferences to announce terrible-sounding numbers of potential voter fraud cases. In Milwaukee, for example, they claimed there were tens of thousands of “discrepancies” in the vote a few years ago. But they came up with that number by comparing the voter rolls to another state database and counting any difference at all between the two lists as a potential case of voter fraud.

In fact, not a single one of them turned out to be. What they were is just mundane differences — missing apartment numbers, transposed house addresses or name spellings, a missing “jr” or “sr” on the end. They announce the scary-sounding initial number with great fanfare, then ignore it when it turns out to be total bullshit.

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  • sunsangnim

    How optimistic should we be that other states will have their voter ID laws overturned?

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Pretty soon the Confederate State of Wisconsin will be striking down federal laws:

    Wisconsin’s GOP Secession Panic

    Wisconsin Republicans are set to vote on a measure this weekend that would affirm the state’s right to secede from the union.

  • Al Dente

    Everyone, including the Republicans, know that Voter ID and similar laws are to keep people who vote for the wrong candidates from voting.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, the alternative is to allow Democrats to vote.

  • dingojack

    Reginald Selkirk (#2) – My favourite bit of the linked article:

    “Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, which has been pushing for states to assert their sovereignty and reclaim the right of nullification… said. “This isn’t a states’ rights argument. Seceding from the country is saying we are done with the process. Revolutions just don’t accomplish anything.””

    Evidentially not an American History Major, then.


  • raven

    Wisconsin Republicans are set to vote on a measure this weekend that would affirm the state’s right to secede from the union.

    1. Which once again, shows what we already know. They hate the USA and its government.

    2. Any one in or near Wisconsin? Is anti-American sentiment really that strong or did they just elect a bunch of kooks?

    And has Scott Walker, the governor, fixed anything or made anything better?

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.eberhard.73 johneberhard

    Arkansas’ voter ID law just got struck down. It is on a stay pending appeal, but the judge has made the decision that it is unconstitutional.

  • Alverant
  • https://www.facebook.com/bob.moler.3 Bob Moler

    Secede? How about the Koch’s Republic of Wisconsin?

  • theguy

    At #6

    In my corner of Wisconsin, I see more crazy anti-goverment sentiment than I’d ever care to. Anti-tax, anti-gun-control, anti-regulation, anti-public-schools, etc.

    Not that everyone is crazy, but the crazy is definitely more vocal. My county usually votes Republican (I don’t) but the vote ratio may be closer to 50-50.

  • Drew

    Am I the only one who expects, in the next several election cycles, that all of the sudden large amounts of this kind of voter fraud will take place and that in subsequent years it will be found to have been a systematic effort on the part of republicans to enact these laws?