Voter ID requirement won’t apply in next election

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The drama surrounding Wisconsin’s controversial voter ID law continues, with a Dane County judge choosing to permanently uphold the injunction against the law Monday.

This means that voters in Wisconsin, including many out-of-state college students, will no longer need a photo ID to vote in the April 3rd primary, said Reid Magney, public information officer at the Government Accountability Board of Wisconsin.

“Basically, the situation now is that two separate circuit courts in Dane County have stopped the voter ID portion of the law from being enforceable,” Magney said. “Until we hear otherwise in another court, no photo ID will be required to vote.”

The ruling on the injunction came after another Dane County judge had temporarily stopped the law on March 6.

Government Accountability Board director Kevin Kennedy issued a statement saying that the board would “be in communication with the Attorney General’s office about the issue.”

Judge David Flanagan, the first judge to issue a ruling on the law, made the decision not to enforce the voter ID section, saying it was “one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the country.”

After the law was put in place, colleges in Wisconsin — including Marquette — started providing students with special ID cards that fulfilled the new voting requirements, including a signature and expiration date.

Amber Wichowsky, a professor of political science at Marquette, said the change to the law may affect voter turnout more for certain groups than others.

“In terms of the Republican primary, there may not be a huge change in voter turnout because the photo ID law will not be enforced,” Wichowsky said. “Statistically, voters who are affected most by the photo ID law are Democratic. The one exception to this is out-of-state college students.”

She added that while some people who wanted to vote may have had extra hoops to jump through because of the voter ID laws, many of those who will vote in the Republican primary may have already had the appropriate ID.

According to Magney, the photo ID portion of the bill is the only part being affected by the injunction.

“The other parts of the bill will still be in effect for the April 3 primaries,” Magney said. “This includes the 28-day residency rule and the requirement to sign a poll list.”

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has filed appeals to the injunction, which resulted from cases brought by the Milwaukee NAACP and advocacy group Voces de la Frontera. Reaction has been split by party line among many members of the state legislature. While Democrats have celebrated the injunction, many Republicans are confident that the appeals will end favorably.

“Requiring photo identification to vote is common sense — we require it to get a library card, cold medicine and public assistance,” said Cullen Werwie, a spokesperson for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, in a statement. “Gov. Walker looks forward to implementing common sense reforms that protect the electoral process and increase citizens’ confidence in the results of our elections.”

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