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ACLU Comment on Federal Appeals Court Ruling on Wisconsin Voter ID


The full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals today declined to rehear a three-judge panelís order reinstating Wisconsinís voter ID law prior to the midterm election. The vote was split evenly, 5-5, meaning the panelís order stands. Neither the panel nor the full court has yet ruled on the actual merits of the law, which was found unconstitutional by a federal judge in April. The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law, and petitioned for a full appeals court review following the panelís order on September 12 allowing the law to take effect. The ACLU presented oral arguments to the panel that day asking the court to uphold the April decision striking down the law as unconstitutional and in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The following is a statement from Dale Ho, director of the ACLUís Voting Rights Project:

ďAllowing this law to take effect so close to the midterm election is a recipe for chaos, voter confusion, and disenfranchisement. The court could have avoided this pandemonium and given Wisconsin voters a chance to cast their ballots free of obstruction. It failed to do so, and we are evaluating our next step.Ē

The ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, and Dechert LLP†are co-counsel in this case, Frank v. Walker, challenging Wisconsinís voter ID law.

At trial last November, the groups presented evidence showing that hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters lacked ID; that African-American and Latino voters, who have been subjected to historical and continuing segregation and discrimination in Wisconsin, were far more likely to lack ID and the documents needed to get ID than whites; that there are significant burdens imposed on voters trying to get ID; and that the government lacks strong enough reason to impose these burdens. A federal court agreed and struck down the law on April 29, prompting the stateís appeal.

A†copy of todayís ruling is at:

More information about this case is at:


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