The ACLU will present oral arguments in federal court on October 5 in a case seeking to expand voting access in Wisconsin. We are asking the court to bolster access to the ballot by permitting more types of acceptable identification for voting, and by allowing people who have difficulty obtaining identification to vote by affidavit. Specifically, we want the currently restrictive list of acceptable identification to be expanded to include IDs for veterans, IDs for students attending technical colleges, and out-of-state driver's licenses.

Wisconsin’s voter ID law is among the most restrictive in the nation, requiring voters to produce one of a few specified forms of photo identification in order to vote. This restriction 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. In addition, it violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans the use of voting practices that have a disparate negative impact on racial and language minorities. Research commissioned by the ACLU indicates the law has a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino voters, who are more likely to lack photo ID accepted for voting in Wisconsin.

 

The American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal district court to bolster access to the ballot for Wisconsin voters by permitting more types of acceptable identification for voting, and by allowing people who have difficulty obtaining identification to vote by affidavit. The motion comes in response to a federal appeals court decision upholding the law, and seeks modifications to help ensure voter access to the polls. It asks that the limited list of acceptable identification be expanded to include IDs for veterans and students attending technical colleges, as well as out-of-state driver licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit charging that Wisconsin's voter ID law is unconstitutional, as provided under the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. On April 29, 2014, the district court struck down Wisconsin’s voter ID law, but on October 6, a divided appellate court reversed the ruling. On January 7, 2015, the ACLU filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling and to hear this case of paramount importance. On March 23, 2015, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The ACLU immediately filed an emergency motion with a federal appeals court to keep the law from taking effect for the April election. Later that same day, state officials announced they would delay the law's implementation through that election.

 

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