Voter ID Law Upheld by Court of Appeals

MacIver News Service | May 30, 2013

[Madison, Wisc…] The Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals ruled the state’s photo ID law does not violate Article III of the State Constitution, on Thursday, striking down one of two decisions against it by Dane County judges.

The League of Women voters asserted that the law was unconstitutional essentially because the constitution does not explicitly allow it, and also it placed an unreasonable burden on potential voters. On March 12, 2012, Neiss ruled in their favor and blocked the law, 2011 Act 23.

The Court of Appeals decision on Thursday reversed that. Judge JJ Blanchard wrote that the law was to be presumed constitutional and the burden of proof fell to the League of Women Voters.

“However, in this facial challenge in which the League does not rely on any fact finding or evidentiary material, the implied argument falls short,” wrote Blanchard.

After Thursday’s decision, there is still one other decision against Act 23 in effect. That challenge was made by the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP. They made similar, but legally different, arguments from the LWV. Additionally, unlike the League, Blanchard noted that the NAACP appears to have presented proof.

“They assert that they have shown that ‘over 300,000 Wisconsin electors lack an acceptable photo ID’ and that ‘procuring a DMV Photo ID can be a frustrating, complex, and time-consuming process.’ In contrast, here the League relies on no such evidence on these topics and challenges the photo identification requirement only under Article III of the state constitution,” he wrote.

According to the decision, which can be read here, “As far as we can discern, the League does not take issue with the circuit court’s conclusion on this point.”