Supreme Court rejects challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law



On March 23 The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an injunction filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Wisconsin’s voter ID law. The decision comes as a relief to the bill’s supporters, who have faced opposition from many groups and conflicting court decisions for the past two years. Finally, the Supreme Court has laid the battle in Wisconsin to rest, at least for the time being.

The ACLU filed an emergency injunction to keep the voter ID measures from immediately going into place. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel had previously stated, though, that no new ID measures would be implemented in the state’s upcoming April 7 election because absentee ballots had already been sent out, so new regulations would confuse the electorate. The ACLU filed the injunction on the grounds that it would deter a significant portion of American people from voting based on their lack of financial resources to procure the proper identification forms necessary to cast a vote.

As it stands, the Wisconsin law permits individuals to use a variety of forms of identification. Any photo ID, such as a Wisconsin driver’s license, a passport, a military ID or an ID card from a Wisconsin university or college would suffice. This is more liberal than past proposals in various states around the country which only permitted individuals to use state-issued forms of identification, and identification cards would be distributed free of charge to anyone who requested one.

Despite broadening the forms of identification which can be used, the Republican-backed measure has faced intense opposition. In fact, just last year a voter ID bill, which was supported by Gov. Scott Walker, was blocked by the Supreme Court. The bill has also encountered multiple delays because the court can refuse to hear any case at the present time if it deems the timing to be inopportune, such as right before last November’s election.

Despite the intense opposition, Wisconsin’s voter ID law was vetted by the Supreme Court when it declined the ACLU’s injunction. This may set precedent for other state voter ID laws in the country if it is proven effective in reducing voter fraud in Wisconsin, as the bill’s supporters claim it will.