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UPDATE: League asks Wis. Supreme Court to take voter case

UPDATED Monday, July 1, 2013 --- 1:20 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The League of Women Voters wants the Wisconsin Supreme Court to review an appellate decision that found the state's voter photo identification law is constitutional.

The league's attorneys filed a petition Friday asking the court to take the case. Three of the court's seven justices must vote to accept it. It's unclear when that vote might happen.

The league filed a lawsuit in October 2011 arguing the law creates an additional qualification for voters not contained in the Wisconsin Constitution and imposes such a burden it essentially denies people the right to vote. A Dane County judge found the requirements unconstitutional in 2012 but the 4th District Court of Appeals reversed him in May.

An injunction blocking the photo ID mandate in a separate challenge remains in place.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Monday, January 14, 2013 --- 5:38 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Supreme Court has again refused to review a Madison judge's ruling striking down Wisconsin's voter identification law.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera challenged the state's requirement that all voters show photo IDs at the polls. Judge David Flanagan ruled in July the mandate impaired the right to vote. His decision came months after another Madison judge invalidated the law.

The Supreme Court in September refused the state Justice Department's request to hear its appeal on the NAACP case directly and merge the cases. The agency renewed the request in November.

The high court denied it again on Monday with no explanation. That means the case will stay with the 2nd District Court of Appeals.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED: Thursday, September 27, 2012 --- 4:22p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's highest court says it won't hear challenges to the state's voter ID law until a court of appeals hears the cases, a setback for Republicans who wanted voters to have to show photo ID to vote in November's election.

The state Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a request to have the cases bypass the appeals court. That means it's highly unlikely that the photo ID requirement will be reinstated in time for the election.

Republicans passed a bill last year that requires voters to show photo ID. But two Dane County judges said it impairs the right to vote.

Voter ID has become a hot issue around the country. Republicans say the measures would prevent voter fraud, while Democrats call them a political ploy to suppress voters.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Wednesday, July 18, 2012 --- 3:27 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will appeal a Madison judge's ruling blocking Wisconsin's new voter identification law.

Republicans passed a bill last year that requires all voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera sued, arguing the law creates too heavy a burden on voters.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan sided with the groups Tuesday, ruling the law impairs the right to vote.

Van Hollen said in a statement Wednesday he believes the law is constitutional.

Another Madison judge has blocked the law in a separate lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters. Van Hollen is appealing that decision, too.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, April 26, 2012 --- 2:14 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state appeals court has refused to lift an injunction blocking Wisconsin's voter identification law.

The League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in October challenging the law's constitutionality. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent injunction blocking the law last month.

State attorneys have asked the 4th District Court of Appeals to reverse the decision and wanted the court to stay the injunction while it ponders the case. The state argued lifting the injunction would provide certainty for people wondering if they'll need identification to vote in this spring's recall elections.

The court denied the request Thursday. The three-judge panel says the state failed to show any harm would come from preserving the injunction since its final ruling won't come until after the recalls.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Wednesday, April 25, 2012 --- 3:17 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state appeals court says it won't hear the state's request to lift an injunction blocking Wisconsin's new voter identification law.

Two minority advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in December alleging the law places a burden on voters. Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan issued a temporary injunction blocking the law while he considers the case. He's not expected to rule until late June at the earliest.

State attorneys asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to lift the injunction but the court refused to take the case. The 2nd District Court of Appeals said Wednesday it wouldn't take the case either because Flanagan hasn't issued a decision.

Another Dane County judge in a separate case issued a permanent injunction blocking the law. The state's appeal in that case is pending.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Sunday, March 25, 2012 --- 2:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Municipal and county clerks say they're ready for Wisconsin's presidential primary despite uncertainty over whether its voter photo identification law will be in effect.

The Government Accountability Board has stopped radio and television ads about bringing photo IDs to the polls. But it's asking clerks to continue training inspectors and poll workers on how to properly look for state-issued photo ID in case the law is suddenly reinstated.

The law went into limbo in early March after two Wisconsin judges filed separate injunctions against the law. The state's Department of Justice has appealed both rulings.

Some would prefer the injunctions stay in place for now. GAB director Kevin Kennedy has asked state attorneys to hold off on the appeals to avoid confusion for voters in the April 3 primary.

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UPDATED Thursday, March 22, 2012 --- 3:35 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's Department of Justice is appealing a judge's ruling blocking the state's voter photo identification law.

DOJ filed its request with the Fourth District Court of Appeals on Thursday. State attorneys say the injunction blocking the law should be on hold until an appeals court can rule in the lawsuit filed by the NAACP's Milwaukee branch and Voces de la Frontera.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess granted the injunction March 12. Another Wisconsin judge in a separate lawsuit has also filed a temporary injunction blocking the law. DOJ has appealed both decisions.

Niess refused to lift the injunction Tuesday, leading to Thursday's appeal.

The judges' orders have scuttled the hopes of those who want the voter ID law in effect for the April 3 presidential primary.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 20, 2012 --- 2:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has refused to lift his permanent injunction of the state's voter photo identification law.

The state Department of Justice asked Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess last week to lift the injunction. Niess refused the request Tuesday.

Niess granted the injunction March 12, less than a week after another Wisconsin judge filed a temporary injunction in a separate lawsuit challenging the law. DOJ has appealed both decisions.

Republicans want the injunctions erased before the April 3 presidential primary. They fear the court cases have created uncertainty over the law and will confuse voters.

The law's opponents say the measure will disenfranchise minority groups as well as the poor, students and senior citizens who lack photo identification.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, March 15, 2012 --- 4:25 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has upheld his temporary injunction of the state's voter identification law.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan ruled Thursday against a state Department of Justice request to lift his temporary injunction. The state Department of Justice says it will appeal.

Flanagan granted the temporary injunction on March 6. Another Wisconsin judge later filed a permanent injunction in a different lawsuit.

The decision continues to scramble plans for state officials who want the law in effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary. Republicans have criticized Flanagan for signing a recall petition in November against Gov. Scott Walker.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Thursday, March 15, 2012 --- 4:15 p.m.

From the Wisconsin Department of Justice:

MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced that this afternoon the Department of Justice made two sets of filings on behalf of the defendants in NAACP v. Walker, et al., and League of Women Voters v. Walker, et al., in the Wisconsin courts of appeals. Both cases were initially filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

In the League of Women Voters case, the defendants are filing a notice of appeal with the court of appeals, District IV, from the circuit court’s final order enjoining Act 23, the voter identification law. The defendants also are asking the court to expedite briefing in the case.

In the NAACP case, the defendants are petitioning the court of appeals, District II, for leave to appeal the circuit court’s preliminary order enjoining Act 23. The defendants also are asking the court to stay all proceedings in the circuit court, and to hear the appeal on an expedited basis.

“We have made these appellate filings far ahead of the timelines contemplated for appeal so these matters may be reviewed and concluded in anticipation of the April election,” Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said.

Both of these cases involve novel constitutional challenges to the voter ID law. Due to the important statewide legal and policy issues at stake, defendants are suggesting in their filings today that certification of both cases to the Supreme Court would be appropriate. The Department of Justice is counsel for the Governor and members of the Government Accountability Board in this court action.

Copies of the filings are available at the following links:

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/lwv-notice-appeal-20120315.pdf

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/lwv-appeal-motion-expedite-20120315.pdf

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/lwv-nom-motion-injunction-20120315.pdf

http://www.doj.state.wi.us/news/files/naacp-petition-20120315.pdf

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UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 --- 2:20 p.m.

From the Office of the Attorney General:

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Department of Justice will appeal the decision issued today in League of Women Voters, et al. v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11-CV-4669. This afternoon, the Honorable Richard G. Niess issued his decision invalidating and enjoining Wisconsin’s Voter ID law.

“Wisconsin’s voter ID law is consistent with the constitution, and I will appeal this decision,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

In another of the Voter Identification Law cases, last Friday the Department requested the Honorable David T. Flanagan stay his injunction pending appeal of his decision. Attorney General Van Hollen has previously indicated he will appeal that court’s decision.

The Department of Justice is counsel for the Governor and members of the Government Accountability Board.

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UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 --- 1:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A second Wisconsin judge has struck down the state's voter identification law less than a week after another judge temporarily stopped it.

Online court records say Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent injunction Monday. It will complicate plans for state board of election officials who want to have the voter ID law in effect for the April 3 presidential primary.

A different judge in a separate case last week granted a temporary injunction against the law taking effect for the primary. Attorneys for the state have requested to delay that order.

There are four lawsuits challenging the law, which was passed last spring.

Supporters say it helps prevent voter fraud. Opponents counter there are few documented cases of wrongdoing.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED: Monday, March 12, 2012 ---7:30a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Dane County judge is expected to rule Monday on a possible second injunction barring enforcement of Wisconsin's voter ID requirement.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess' announcement at a hearing comes just days after a different judge in a separate case granted a temporary injunction.

Niess will decide whether to grant a permanent injunction that could further scramble plans for state board of election officials who want to have the law in effect for the April 3 presidential primary.

Attorneys for the League of Women Voters argued the law violates the state Constitution's explicit language giving everyone the right to vote by creating a certain condition for them to cast a ballot. Earlier last week a Dane County judge imposed a temporary injunction suspending the photo ID portion of the law.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED: Friday, March 9, 2012 --- 6:23p.m.

From the Attorney General's office:

The Wisconsin Department of Justice asks Court to stay order enjoining Voter ID law

MADISON — Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the Department of Justice has asked the Court in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, et al. v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11 CV 5492, to stay the injunction against the State’s Voter ID law that entered on March 6, 2012.

“For close to a year, Voter ID has been the law of this State. It has already worked in the most recent elections. An injunction now, this close to the April election, will confuse people about what is required and discourage them from obtaining a qualifying ID. If, as we hope, the injunction is overturned before the election, those relying on the injunction may be left without an opportunity to obtain their IDs by the date of the election,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.

The Motion states that a stay is appropriate because an appeal will be pursued. If people rely on the injunction and choose not to obtain a qualifying ID, and if the injunction is overturned before the April election, they may be left without a qualifying ID and be unable to vote. The Motion further argues that a stay will prevent election officials and others from having to change their existing procedures for absentee ballots and other activities, only to be forced to go back to those practices if the injunction is overturned on appeal.

Late this afternoon, the Honorable David T. Flanagan issued an order asking the plaintiffs to respond by March 13, 2012, to defendants’ motion for relief pending appeal. The Department of Justice is counsel for the Governor and members of the Government Accountability Board in the court action.

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UPDATED: Friday, March 9, 2012 --- 3:33p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge says he will decide next week whether to permanently block the state's voter identification law.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess' announcement at a hearing Friday comes days after a different judge in a separate case granted a temporary injunction to stop the law.

The League of Women Voters filed its lawsuit last October. The League argues the law will disenfranchise voters. State attorneys say the lawsuit has no legal standing.

The law was in effect for the February election despite numerous lawsuits challenging it. The state Department of Justice has said it plans to appeal Tuesday's ruling in another lawsuit temporarily stopping the law from being in place for the April 3 presidential primary.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED: Friday, March 9, 2012 -- 3:27 p.m.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess will not be making a ruling today. The case will resume on Monday.

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UPDATED: Friday, March 9, 2012 -- 10:15 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge is expected to make a ruling in another lawsuit challenging the state's new law requiring photo identification at the polls just days after a different judge blocked it from being in effect.

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday to make a possible ruling in a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters.

The league argues voters will be disenfranchised by the law. State attorneys have argued the lawsuit has no legal standing.

The law was in effect for the February election despite numerous lawsuits challenging it. The state Department of Justice has said it plans to appeal Tuesday's ruling in another lawsuit temporarily stopping the law from being in place for the April 3 presidential primary.

Copyright 2012: Associated Press

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UPDATED: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 --- 5:35 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

The Voter ID fallout is coming in waves today, with a lot more questions than answers just one month from April elections.

This afternoon the Department of Justice says they'll work to get Voter ID reinstated yet again before the election.

The decision made by a judge to stop Voter ID yesterday is now being challenged on several levels and has those in charge of elections wondering what they're supposed to do.

Right now no one knows whether the Voter ID law will be in effect come April, but for the time being city and county clerks have no choice but to prepare for no Voter ID.

Sun Prairie City Clerk Diane Hermann-Brown says, "Everything we've educated the public on is now gone and the time to reeducate them is going to be challenging."

In Sun Prairie a closet full of supplies, including absentee envelopes, may have just become a big waste of taxpayer money.

They are no longer valid because of their Voter ID requirements.

Volunteers who were planning Voter ID education sessions are also at a loss.

Nancy Schultz says, "We're trying to figure out exactly what we're going to do."

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is working to get things changed yet again.

He released a statement today saying his office will be moving quickly to appeal, ensuring the Voter ID law will be in full force before the April elections.

Hermann-Brown says, "If it gets overturned again between now and April I could train one week in one way and it could change the next week in another fashion."

Today the Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, asking them to investigate Dane County Judge David Flanagan who temporarily stopped Voter ID.

State Republican Party Spokesman Ben Sparks says, "Judge David Flanagan has a history of associating with known liberal activists."

Sparks says Flanagan signed a Walker recall petition which proves he's biased."

Sparks says, "He should have recused himself in this case. Look, it represents a clear conflict of interest."

Both the A-G and Republican Party say they're confident Voter ID will ultimately be upheld.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 7, 2012 --- 2:10 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's attorney general says he will appeal a judge's ruling to stop the state's new voter identification law.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Wednesday he will move quickly to bring the ruling before an appellate court. He says he is confident the law will be upheld.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted the temporary injunction Tuesday. It stops the contentious law from being in effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary election.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin has also filed a formal complaint with the state's Judicial Commission to investigate Flanagan for signing a petition in November to recall GOP Gov. Scott Walker. They say Flanagan failed to maintain impartiality.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 7, 2012 --- 1:50 p.m.

Statement by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen:

I have now had the opportunity to review Judge Flanagan’s “Order Granting Motion for Temporary Injunction,” in Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, et al. v. Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11 CV 5492, and consult with my staff. We will be moving quickly to bring this matter before an appellate court to ensure that the properly-enacted and legally-sufficient Voter ID law will be in full force and in effect before the April elections.

Illegal and fraudulent votes dilute and diminish the legitimate votes of qualified electors. It is proper and legal for the State to require a person appearing at the polls to prove that he or she is, in fact, the eligible, registered elector whose vote is to be cast.

The vast majority of eligible electors either has a qualifying photo ID or can obtain one without significant burdens. For the rest, the law makes accommodations to reduce any potential burden. These accommodations include a delayed effective date, a legislatively mandated educational campaign, a requirement that the Government Accountability Board provide assistance to electors in obtaining identification, and exemptions for military personnel, and those suffering from certain disabilities.

My office will continue its efforts to defend the law, and I am confident that the Voter ID law ultimately will be upheld.

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 7, 2012 --- 12:55 p.m.

Republican Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Ben Sparks released the following statement:

"The Republican Party of Wisconsin has filed a formal complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission today, requesting that a full investigation be conducted into the failure of Dane County Judge David Flanagan to maintain the appearance of impartiality in the Voter ID case before his court. Governor Walker is listed as a defendant in the case, and by signing a petition to recall the Governor, Judge Flanagan made his bias clear. As such, we urge the Wisconsin Judicial Commission to take up this matter and investigate these allegations as soon as possible."

Link to the complaint:
http://www.wisgop.org/news/republican-party-wisconsin-complaint-wisconsin-judicial-commission

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 7, 2012 --- 10:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's board of elections says it will meet soon to discuss whether to appeal a judge's ruling to stop the state's new voter identification law.

The Government Accountability Board will discuss the ruling at a meeting Monday. The board plans to meet with attorneys from the state's Department of Justice.

Spokesman Reid Magney says no decision has been made yet regarding an appeal.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted the temporary injunction Tuesday. It stops the contentious law from taking effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary election.

Republicans have criticized Flanagan for signing a petition in November to recall GOP Gov. Scott Walker.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 6, 2012 --- 5:15 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge who filed a temporary injunction against the state's new voter identification law also signed a petition seeking the recall of GOP Gov. Scott Walker, who was a staunch supporter of the law.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday in a story (http://bit.ly/xt363s) on its website that Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan's signature appears in a recall petition dated Nov. 15. It also lists his wife, who circulated the petition.

The newspaper reports that Maureen McGlynn Flanagan confirmed she circulated the petition and that her husband signed it.

Flanagan's temporary injunction on Tuesday prevents the law from being in effect for the April 3 presidential primary.

The NAACP's Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera filed its lawsuit last year. It names Walker as a defendant. A trial on whether to grant a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 6, 2012 --- 5:05 p.m.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that Dane County Judge David Flanagan, who ordered the temporary injunction in this case, did sign a recall petition against the Governor back in November.

Ben Sparks is the Communications Director with the Republican Party of Wisconsin.

He issued the following statement:

"The very fact that Dane County Judge David Flanagan signed a petition to recall Governor Walker calls today's court proceedings regarding Wisconsin's voter ID law into question. To make matters more troubling, Judge Flanagan also lists Melissa Mulliken, a longtime advisor to Kathleen Falk, as his campaign manager on his official campaign web page. As such, the Republican Party of Wisconsin will be filing a complaint with the Wisconsin Judicial Commission to investigate this matter further."

Meanwhile, Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy issued a statement today regarding Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan’s order.

“We will take steps to suspend enforcement and implementation of the photo ID provisions of Act 23. We will communicate with local election officials and the public about the impact of this order. No decision has been made regarding an appeal. We will consult with the Attorney General’s office on this issue.”

“Other key provisions of Act 23 remain in effect: the requirement for 28 consecutive days of residency to vote, the requirement for voters to sign the poll list, and the end of corroboration for voters who do not have proof of residence.”

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 6, 2012 --- 3:10 p.m.

Cullen Werwie, a spokesman for Gov. Scott Walker, issued the following statement:

Requiring photo identification to vote is common sense - we require it to get a library card, cold medicine and public assistance. Governor Walker looks forward to implementing common sense reforms that protect the electoral process and increases citizens' confidence in the results of our elections.

Ensuring the integrity of our elections is one of the core functions of government.

We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID.

Meanwhile, Dana Brueck, spokesperson for the WI Department of Justice, issued the following statement:

We’re reviewing the ruling and will likely pursue an appeal. We disagree with the ruling and will continue our efforts to defend Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which is similar to laws that have already been upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

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Posted Tuesday, March 6, 2012 --- 1:45 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge has granted a temporary injunction to stop the state's new voter identification law.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan granted the injunction Tuesday. It will stop the law from taking effect for the state's April 3 presidential primary election.

The NAACP's Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera filed the lawsuit last year. A trial on a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16.

Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney had no immediate comment on the judge's order. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, which represented GAB in the case, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

There are four lawsuits against the state's new voter ID law. It went into effect in February.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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