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Sunday, May 19, 2024

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear voter ID appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up a case Monday that alleged Wisconsin's 2011 law requiring an ID to vote is unconstitutional. The decision will allow the law to go into effect for future elections.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the state soon after the law was enacted, arguing it put an undue burden on minority and low-income voters. A long legal battle prevented voter ID from going into effect, as the suit jumped from court to court.

Last year a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled the law was constitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court let that ruling stand Monday, but did not give its reasons for denying the case.

State Attorney General Brad Schimel said the law was a victory for Wisconsin’s elections, but the April 7 spring elections were too soon for voter ID to be implemented.

“Our legal team did an outstanding job defending Wisconsin law, from the trial court to the U.S. Supreme Court," Schimel said in a Monday statement. "Absentee ballots are already in the hands of voters, therefore, the law cannot be implemented for the April 7 election. The Voter ID law will be in place for future elections–this decision is final.”

The Government Accountability Board, responsible for overseeing and regulating Wisconsin’s elections, announced it would work to implement the law before the next statewide primary election in February 2016.

Many state Republicans heralded the decision as a victory for the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections.

“It’s a great day in Wisconsin; voter ID will finally be the law of the land,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said in a statement. “The common sense law will help ensure honest and fair elections in our state and I look forward to the full implementation of voter ID in the coming months.”

Monday’s order does not mean the High Court will not rule on voter ID. The justices have yet to decide whether to take up appeals on similar laws from three other states: Ohio, North Carolina and Texas.

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