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UPDATE: Wis. election official to testify in voter-ID case

UPDATED Thursday, November 7, 2013 ---- 5:29 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A top official with Wisconsin's elections board is scheduled to be called as a key witness in a federal trial over the state's photo voter-ID law.

Kevin Kennedy is the director of the state's Government Accountability Board. The board is tasked with enforcing the voter-ID law, which requires that voters show photo ID at the polls.

Kennedy has been named as one defendant in the federal lawsuit. He's set to testify Thursday.

The voter-ID law passed in 2011 but has been put on hold pending a number of legal challenges.

The federal trial began Monday in Milwaukee and is expected to last two weeks. So far most of the witnesses have been people who lack basic ID and had trouble getting photo IDs that are appropriate for voting.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Wednesday, November 6, 2013 --- 11:01 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A Wisconsin veteran testifying in a federal trial over Wisconsin's voter-ID law says it took him almost two years of effort to acquire a state ID.

Fifty-four-year-old Carl Ellis of Milwaukee says his veteran's ID wasn't considered sufficient to vote. He didn't have a driver's license because of issues with mental health, alcoholism and homelessness so he had to figure out how to get a certified birth certificate from Illinois.

He says he finally got his ID three months ago, after trying for nearly two years.

Ellis was testifying Wednesday on behalf of several groups who say Wisconsin's voter-ID law disproportionately hurts minorities and the poor. The Republican-backed law has been put on hold pending legal challenges.

Supporters of the law say it helps prevent voter fraud.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Monday, November 4, 2013 --- 11:23 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal trial over Wisconsin's voter-ID law will focus on whether requiring voters to show a state-issued identification helps combat voter fraud or disenfranchises poorer voters.

The Milwaukee trial began Monday with opening statements.

Plaintiff's attorney John Ulin says expert witnesses will testify that voter fraud isn't a problem in Wisconsin. He says his witnesses will also provide statistics showing that minorities are less likely to have state IDs, and also less likely to have the documents needed to get one.

Attorney Clayton Kawski is defending the state and the voter-ID law. He says just because someone doesn't have a state ID now doesn't mean the person can never get one. He says a legitimate law that protects election integrity shouldn't be invalidated just because a few people lack an ID.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED: Monday, November 4, 2013 --- 5:45 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal trial to decide two separate challenges to Wisconsin's voter photo-identification law is set to begin in Milwaukee.

The law passed in 2011 but was blocked after the February 2012 primary when a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional.

The measure requires voters to show a state-issued ID before they can vote. Supporters say the Republican-backed law is needed to combat voter fraud, but opponents say there's so little evidence of fraud that it's actually a tactic to disenfranchise poor and minority voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens have filed a federal lawsuit over the measure. Their cases are being consolidated in a trial that begins Monday.

The state Justice Department says voter ID ensures that elections are conducted with integrity.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2013 --- 4:30 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal trial scheduled to begin Monday in Wisconsin could set the stage for legal challenges in a number of states to laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Wisconsin's photo voter ID law has been on hold since Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional soon after it passed in 2011.

Supporters say the law helps combat voter fraud. Opponents say it disenfranchises poor and minority voters who are less likely to have state-issued identification.

The trial involves a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a now-deceased Wisconsin woman who was born at home in Jackson, Tenn., in 1935 and never received a birth certificate. Her daughter says that without a birth certificate, Bettye Jones had to fight for months to get a state ID to vote.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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