A judge in Wisconsin has granted a temporary injunction to stop the money-wasting, anti-democratic voter ID law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker last year.
Circuit Judge David Flanagan said that the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera had demonstrated that their lawsuit against Gov. Scott Walker and the state Government Accountability Board would probably succeed on its merits and had demonstrated the likelihood of irreparable harm if the photo ID law is allowed to stand.
Flanagan ordered Walker and the GAB to “cease immediately any effort to enforce or implement the photo identification requirements” of the law, pending a trial on a permanent injunction scheduled before him on April 16.
The voter ID law known as Act 23, which requires citizens to obtain a certain kind of photo identification in order to vote at the polls, would have led to the disenfranchisement of thousands of Wisconsin citizens. Here are some statistics on who does not have the photo ID that the law requires in Wisconsin:
23% of voters 65 and over
17% of White men and women
55% of African-American men, 49% of African-American women
46% of Hispanic men, 59% of Hispanic women
78% of African-American men 18-24, 66% of African-American women 18-24
The law will also disproportionately affects students, who were key in the Wisconsin uprising last winter. Act 23 was specifically written in a way that invalidates most college ID cards.
Proponents of the law – which has ALEC-inspired copycats in multiple states – say it’s necessary to prevent voter fraud. So far, all it has done is spark outrage, cause confusion, and suppress voters.
Last month, a 69 year old veteran named Gil Paar was denied his right to vote even though he had photo ID from the U.S. Department of Veterans affairs. “I gave them four years of my life,” Paar told the Racine Journal Times, “why shouldn’t I be able to use my vet’s card.”
It’s no surprise that there have been four separate lawsuits filed against the voter ID law.
A different lawsuit, this one filed by the nonpartisan League of Women Voters, also advanced today. A different Circuit judge, Richard Niess, allowed the lawsuit to proceed despite efforts by Gov. Walker’s lawyers to declare it invalid.
What’s this all mean? In the short run, it means the voter suppression law won’t be enforced for the regularly scheduled April 3 elections in Wisconsin. That in itself is good news for democracy.
However, there’s no telling whether or not the law will be enforced for the recall elections against Governor Scott Walker and four of his anti-worker allies in the State Senate, which will most likely take place at some point in June.