Just when you thought voting rights were safe in Wisconsin, Scott Walker’s Attorney-General, J.B. Van Hollen decided to appeal to the Supreme Court to overturn rulings by lower courts that struck down Walker’s version of the vote suppressing Voter ID law.
Van Hollen announced the decision in a statement released on Tuesday.
According to AG- Van Hollen:
People in this state are very frustrated that a common sense law enacted by the legislature and signed by the Governor has been blocked. While I respect the judicial process and the right to challenge a law in court, it is time for our Supreme Court to take control of these cases,
Sir, the people of Wisconsin as well as across the nation are very frustrated by your and other Republicans very transparent attack, coupled with specious arguments, on the most fundamental of rights: the right to vote.
Van Hollen refers to cases that have been decided and pending cases.
League of Women Voters of Wisconsin Education Network, Inc, et al. v. Scott Walker, et al., Dane County Case No. 11-CV-4669, Appeal No. 2012-AP-584 On March 12, Madison Circuit Judge Richard Neiss ruled the Voter ID law is unconstitutional.
It’s worth re-stating a passage from Judge Neiss’ ruling in this case which goes to the heart of what Van Hollen is seeking to do.
A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence – the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote – imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people. It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution. This is precisely what 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 does with its photo ID mandates.
In Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, et al., v. Scott Walker, et al.,. Judge David t. Flanigan ruled the law invalid on July 17th.
Then there are these pending cases.
Bettye Jones, et al. v. David G. Deininger, et al., Case No. 12-CV-185
Ruthelle Frank, et al. v. Scott Walker, et al., Case No. 11-CV-1128.
Nothing says more about the Republican Party’s priorities then the manner by which they spend their time, the battles they choose to engage in. Moreover, while claiming the State is too poor to pay public sector employees a fair wage, the Walker government managed to find money to dedicate to court battles in the name of suppressing the vote.
Van Hollen’s choice of venue to announce the Appeal speaks volumes of the political motives on which he based his decision. According to dane101.com
In a statement released shortly after the news broke, Executive Director Scot Ross of the liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now fired back at the attorney general:
“JB Van Hollen has spent years, and untold tax dollars, unsuccessfully chasing phantom vote impropriety allegations to justify his support for disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of legal voters,” Scot said. “He’s either lying about rampant ‘voter fraud’ or he is incompetent at his job. Van Hollen announced he was going to do this at a Romney-Ryan campaign rally and now he’s using his taxpayer financed office to convince the partisan, conservative Supreme Court majority to do the political thing, not the right thing.” (my bold)
In his statement, AG Van Hollen spoke of his respect for the law. In reality, his actions couldn’t speak louder to the contrary. Like his Republican colleagues in other states, this is about winning a election and the law be damned!
For as Judge Neiss stated in his ruling, the people’s inherent right to vote pre-exists the constitution. Efforts by Van Hollen and other Republicans are in no position to speak about respect for the law, when they consistently seek to violate a most basic principle in a free and civilized society. To suggest that Republicans should be ashamed of themselves, I’ll concede, is a waste of breath. Anyone who so diligently attacks the right to vote in the name of manipulating an election knows no shame!
Given the composition of Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, there is a very good possibility that the lower court rulings will be reversed. That means voters in Wisconsin should assume they will need the ID required under that law.
According to 866ourvote the law allows the following forms of photo ID
These forms of ID must be current or if expired, they must have expired after the date of the most recent general election.
A Wisconsin Driver’s license. Note: according to the site: revoked or suspended licenses are accepted.
A non-Driver’s ID.
A U.S. “uniformed service” ID.
A U.S. passport
A certificate of naturalization issued no earlier than 2 years before the election date.
An unexpired driving receipt or ID card issued by the Wisconsin DoT.
An ID card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe in Wisconsin.
An unexpired ID card issued by a Wisconsin-accredited university or college that contains the date it was issued, the signature of the student and an expiration date no later than 2 years after the date it was issued. Students must also provide proof of enrollment.
You can also apply for a free photo ID for voting.
You must complete the DMV’s application and you must provide:
1. Proof of name and birth.
2. Proof of identity.
3. Proof of Wisconsin residency.
4. Proof of U.S. citizenship.
5. A Social Security Number.
You can find more information, including the accepted ID needed to prove the above, here.
If you don’t bring a legally acceptable photo ID to the polls, you can cast a provisional ballot. However, for your ballot to count, you must return to the polling place with a legally acceptable photo ID before the polls close. OR you must take your photo ID to the municipal clerk’s office or the board of election commissioners by 4 p.m. on the Friday after the election.
Image from Mainstreet Oshkosh