Milwaukee NAACP claims victory in Voter ID litigation
On Tuesday, Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan issued his decision to permanently enjoin Wisconsin’s restrictive and burdensome photo ID law, declaring Wisconsin’s photo ID law the strictest in the nation.
The Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, Voces de la Frontera, and twelve individuals partnered in the fight against Wisconsin Act 23. The act requires photo identification to cast a ballot, including absentee ballots. Only around 80 percent of Wisconsin residents already registered to vote possess a driver’s license that meets the Photo ID requirements of Act 23. In addition, to obtain a WisDOT Division of Motor Vehicles issued driver’s license or alternative ID a certified birth certificate is required.
If enacted, the act would impose strict voter identification laws on Wisconsin residents, denying the right to vote granted in the Wisconsin Constitution.
James Hall, President of the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP released the following statement regarding the decision:
“The permanent injunction on Act 23 will help ensure that Wisconsin’s election integrity is preserved during the election season, by protecting each citizen’s right to vote and railing against claims of mass voter fraud and detrimental solutions in search of a problem. Since 2004, no state efforts have produced evidence of voter fraud indicative of the voter ID requirements of Act 23. The Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP, NAACP Wisconsin State Conference, and leading partners will continue to push against the state and national attack on voting rights.”
In the official court Wisconsin Circuit Court order Judge Flanagan states, “Act 23 addresses a problem which is very limited, if indeed it exists.” “It offers no flexibility, no alternative to prevent the exclusion of a constitutionally qualified voter,” he continued.
Since 2011, Wisconsin and 40 other states have introduced voter suppression legislation. Twenty states have successfully passed restrictive voting laws between 2011 and 2012. “Restrictive voter ID legislation is only a portion of the strategic attack on voting rights that has grown to include harsh regulations on registration, cuts to early voting, unlawful purges, and the disenfranchisement of former offenders,” said Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Special Assistant to the President and CEO & Senior Director of the Voting Rights Initiative. “This decision is an important victory for Wisconsin citizens, the NAACP, and voter protection.”
Last December, the NAACP released the report “Defending Democracy” which detailed the various attacks on voting rights, including Florida’s change to third party, non partisan voter registration procedures.
The full report is at http://www.naacp.org/pages/defending-democracy.