A second judge issued a permanent injunction for Act 23, Wisconsin’s voter suppression law, ensuring that the policy will not be in effect for the General Election in November. If left unchecked, Act 23 would have remained one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country.
Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan ruled the law unconstitutional on Tuesday, saying that the requirement to show specific state-issued photo ID in order to vote creates a “substantial impairment to the right to vote.”
Kenneth Mayer, a political scientist for University of Wisconsin-Madison, estimated that 301,000 Wisconsinites do not have the ID that Act 23 requires voters to show at the polls. This law could have effectively disenfranchised 9.3 percent of registered voters in the state, including:
177,000 seniors 17 percent of white men and women 55 percent of African-American men and 49 percent of African-American women 46 percent of Hispanic men and 59 percent of Hispanic women 78 percent of African-American men age 18-24 and 66 percent of African-American women age 18-24
Act 23 was in effect for one Wisconsin election: the presidential primaries in February. It was during that election that Gil Paar, an Air Force veteran from Racine, was not allowed to use his VA card as sufficient ID:
Judge Flanagan is following up on a temporary injunction he issued in March, an action he took because according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel “the plaintiffs – the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera – were likely to succeed in their arguments.” Another judge, Richard Niess, also issued a permanent injunction in March.
We are incredibly grateful to the efforts of advocates like the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera for creating the conditions for this judicious action to protect the voting rights of Wisconsinites. In other states, groups like the League of Women Voters, ACLU, and our brothers and sisters in the AFL-CIO are engaged in legal and advocacy battles to restore the rights threatened by the coordinated, nationwide, corporate-backed, GOP-lead War on Voting.
In Wisconsin, it seems, we won the battle. But we have many states to go.