Van Hollen wants Supreme Court to take voter ID case

AG wants to require voter ID for November election
Van Hollen wants Supreme Court to take voter ID case

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will ask the state Supreme Court to bypass lower courts and consider his appeal to decisions blocking the state’s voter identification law.

Van Hollen said in a release Tuesday the move is being made to ensure the law requiring voters show photo identification at the polls is in place for the Nov. 6 presidential election.

Van Hollen said the Department of Justice will ask the Supreme Court to hear appeals in both cases in state courts which lower court judges blocked implementation of the law.

Van Hollen is asking the state Supreme Court to not only rule on the law put also to put it back into effect immediately.

“Now they have an opportunity to make a timely decision, which would be in the best interests of people whether they are for photo ID or not. Let’s at least have the highest court in the state decide once and for all whether its constitutional or not,” Van Hollen said.

Two Dane County judges have called the law unconstitutional, and it has been blocked since after the February primary.

The state Supreme Court declined to take the case from the court of appeals in April, and Andrea Kaminski, with the League of Women Voters, said that if the court took the case now, she believes there will be more problems leading up to November.

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“We were surprised to hear that the attorney general would bring this back to the Supreme Court after the Supreme Court has once declined to take this case,” Kaminski said. “There have been so many changes in the procedures, we think it would be a grave error to introduce another significant change two-to-three months before a major election.”

Van Hollen said any confusion is the fault of the judges who blocked the law and that now is the time for the court to act.

“It would be a shame for the most important election we have coming up, the presidential election, if the will of the legislature isn’t implemented. If the Supreme Court finds that it is not constitutional, by all means we should have that closure moving forward as well,” Van Hollen said.

When asked why the court would take the case when it had turned it down before, Van Hollen said he believes there is more information available to the justices to make a decision, including briefs and a trial record.

The Dane County clerk said if the Supreme Court takes the case, it could cause an additional layer of confusion with the back-and-forth over the requirements. The clerk said that deadlines are approaching soon for poll worker instructions and mailing absentee ballots.

Two other federal lawsuits in Milwaukee challenging the law are also pending. 

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