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UPDATE: Wisconsin appeals ruling striking down voter ID

UPDATED Monday, May 12, 2014 --- 3:51 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal court ruling striking down Wisconsin's voter identification law as unconstitutional has been appealed.

Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed the appeal with the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday.

Last month U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled that Wisconsin's law requiring that voters show a state-issued photo ID at the polls imposes an unfair burden on poor and minority voters and violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

The ruling left little room for the Legislature to act to rectify problems Adelman identified with the law, meaning it likely will not be in effect for the November election.

Two separate cases challenging the Republican-backed law are also pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 1, 2014 --- 9:02 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican leaders of the Wisconsin state Senate say there is not enough time for the Legislature to convene in special session and pass a voter identification law that can be in effect for the November election.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald tells the Wisconsin State Journal in a story published Thursday (http://tiny.cc/lzm6ex ) that a federal court ruling Tuesday striking down the law leaves little room for the Legislature to act.

Fitzgerald says, "It's not going to be resolved for the November election."

Republican Senate President Mike Ellis agrees, saying calling a special session to pass a voter ID law would be an "exercise in futility."

The state Department of Justice is appealing Tuesday's ruling. Two separate cases are also pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 4:06 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge's ruling striking down Wisconsin's voter identification law as unconstitutional seems to leave the Legislature with little room to act.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said in his ruling Tuesday that given the evidence at trial that blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to lack an ID, "it is difficult to see how an amendment to the photo ID requirement could remove its disproportionate racial impact and discriminatory result."

Republican Gov. Scott Walker's spokeswoman wouldn't comment on a possible special session, saying only that Walker believed the law was constitutional and would be upheld.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he looked forward to working with Walker and the Senate "to do whatever it takes to ensure Voter ID is in place as quickly as possible."

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 2:53 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal court ruling striking down Wisconsin's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls could lead to lawmakers returning for a special session.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker said last month that he would call lawmakers back if the courts ruled against the law. Walker signed it in 2011 and has made it a priority.

But Walker's spokeswoman Laurel Patrick wouldn't comment Tuesday on a possible special session, saying only that the governor believed the law was constitutional and would ultimately be upheld. Patrick says the decision is being reviewed for "any potential action."

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman sided with opponents of the law and ruled that the law violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. A separate challenge is pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 2:12 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will appeal the federal court ruling striking down Wisconsin's voter identification law.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman ruled Tuesday that the law passed in 2011 is unconstitutional.

Van Hollen says, "I am disappointed with the order and continue to believe Wisconsin's law is constitutional. We will appeal."

Van Hollen is at the end of his second term in office and is not running for a third.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has made the voter ID law one of his top priorities. He said last month that he would call the Legislature into special session to enact a law if courts ruled unfavorably.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 1:55 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal court ruling striking down Wisconsin's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls could lead to lawmakers returning for a special session.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker said last month that he would call lawmakers into special session if the courts ruled against the law. Walker signed it in 2011 and has made it a priority.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman on Tuesday sided with opponents of the law and ruled that the law violated the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. A separate challenge is pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Walker's spokeswoman says a reaction to the ruling was coming shortly.

Republican legislative leaders have said they would support a special session to pass a law that could be in effect for the November elections.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 1:53 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union says his group is "ecstatic" that a federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman said in his Tuesday decision that the law requiring voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

The ACLU was among the groups and individuals who sued to have the law overturned.

ACLU spokesman Dale Ho says Adelman fairly interpreted the evidence and his organization feels "vindicated" by the judge's decision.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 29, 2014 --- 1:36 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin's voter Identification law, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued his long-awaited decision Tuesday. It invalidates Wisconsin's law.

Wisconsin's law would have required voters to show a state-issued photo ID at the polls. Supporters said it would cut down on voter fraud and boost public confidence in the integrity of the election process.

But Adelman sided with opponents, who said it disproportionately excluded poor and minority voters because they're less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to get them.

Wisconsin's law was only in effect for a 2012 primary before a Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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