Appeals court to hear arguments in Wisconsin voter ID case Sept. 12

The Wisconsin Gazette

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on Sept. 12 in a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

The measure was enacted after Republican Scott Walker took the governor’s office and the GOP took control of the Legislature.

The ACLU wants the appeals court to uphold a federal ruling that found the law a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and unconstitutional.

The arguments will take place at the federal judicial center in Chicago, where, just a few weeks ago, an appellate panel heard arguments in the Wisconsin marriage equality case.

The hearing was set to begin at 9:30 a.m.

Earlier this summer, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the voter ID law, but not without raising concerns about fees associated with obtaining identification.

The law passed in 2011 but has been put on hold pending legal challenges. Act 23 says that Wisconsin voters must present a state-sanctioned ID to cast a ballot.

The ACLU’s challenge argues that the measure violates the U.S. Constitution, as well as the section of the Voting Rights Act that bans voting practices that have a disparate negative impact on racial minorities. The constitutional argument is that the law imposes a severe burden on the right to vote in violation of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and in violation of the 24th and 14th amendments because it effectively imposes an unconstitutional poll tax on eligible voters.

A federal trial took place last November.

In April, the U.S. court struck down the law.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said, “The federal court decisively struck down the voter ID law because it recognized the law placed unjustified burdens on voters, particularly on certain segments of the population such as African-Americans and Latinos, in clear violation of the Constitution’s equal protection guarantees and federal voting rights law.”

Shirley Brown is one of the plaintiffs in the case. She is an African-American woman in her 70s who was born at home in Louisiana and never had a birth certificate. She has voted in Wisconsin for decades but would have trouble voting if required to produce a state ID. She was denied an ID because she lacks a birth certificate. The DMV refused to issue an ID based on a statement from Brown’s elementary school attesting to her birth, a statement that Medicare has accepted.