Judge Strikes Down WI Voter ID and Early Voting Laws

On Friday, July 29, U.S. District Judge James Peterson struck down parts of Wisconsin's voter ID law, limits on early voting and prohibitions on allowing people to vote early at multiple sites. The 119 page decision is broader than the decision that came last week.  The ruling will not change any of the rules for the August 9th primary.

The judge struck down:

■ Limits on early voting put into place in recent years. Lawmakers restricted early voting to weekdays during the two full weeks before elections, thus eliminating weekend voting that was popular in Milwaukee and other urban areas.

■ A requirement that cities can have only one place for early voting. 

■ A requirement that people must live in their voting ward 28 days before an election. Previously, people had to live in a ward for 10 days before an election.

■ The system the state uses to determine if people with the most difficulty getting IDs should be provided identification for voting. He ruled anyone in that system must immediately be granted an ID for voting within 30 days.

■ Part of the voter ID law allows people to use certain student IDs to vote, but those IDs cannot be expired. Peterson found that aspect of the law is unconstitutional, ruling that expired student IDs can be used at the polls — just as expired driver's licenses can be used for voting.

■ A requirement that dorm lists provided to poll workers include citizen information. Universities provide the lists of those living in dorms to poll workers so they have an easy way to check whether students are voting in the right wards; lawmakers put in a requirement that those lists show whether the students are U.S. citizens.

■ A prohibition on providing voters with absentee ballots by email or fax is unconstitutional, the judge ruled.

The complete order can be found at http://media.jrn.com/documents/vote_ruling.pdf

Attorney General Brad Schimel said he plans to appeal the sweeping decision by U.S. District Court Judge James Peterson.