Case Name: NAACP v. Walker
Type of Case: Voter ID
Court: District II Court of Appeals
Filed on: December 16, 2011
Current status: Voter ID permanently enjoined, briefing on appeal completed, awaiting decision
Case Name: League of Women Voters v. Walker
Type of Case: Voter ID
Court: District IV Court of Appeals
Filed on: October 20, 2011
Current status: Appellate decision upholding the law
In 2008, the United States Supreme Court called "the risk of voter fraud real" and capable of changing "the outcome of a close election," citing to Wisconsin as one of many states with recent examples of voter impersonation fraud. In order to combat those risks, Governor Walker signed 2011 Wisconsin Act 23, which imposed photo identification requirements on nearly all voters.
Liberal groups quickly filed suit, challenging Act 23 in four separate court cases - two federal and two state. Two state judges have held the law unconstitutional. One (in LWV) concluded that the presentation of identification was an additional requirement to be a qualified voter beyond those requirements permitted by the Wisconsin Constitution. We believe that presenting identification is merely a method of establishing that you are, in fact, a qualified voter. The Court of Appeals agreed with us in this case, reversing the lower court and upholding voter ID. We expect LWV to file a petition for review with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is likely to accept the case.
The other judge (in NAACP) found that the burden placed on a few people who had a difficult time getting photo identification made the whole law unconstitutional. We believe that while the law may place some additional inconvenience on some voters, that inconvenience is outweighed by the public interest in ensuring the integrity of our elections. All kinds of election integrity measures - registration, single-day polls, single-location polls, etc. - add inconvenience to voting; that inconvenience does not make those measures unconstitutional.
We have advanced these arguments on behalf of a diverse group of citizens as amici curiae while the cases are on appeal. We have shown that none of the studies of voter ID have found that it has a significant negative effect on voter turnout. We have also brought to the courts' attention the fact that the outcomes of numerous elections every spring could be changed by a handful of fraudulent votes, showing that even if voter impersonation fraud is not "widespread," the public has a compelling interest in curtailing it.