Voter I.D. Laws Blocked in Wisconsin and Texas

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court blocked a law in Wisconsin, which would require voters to present photo IDs. This was originally put into place by a lower court, and would have effected the election in November.

The Huffington Post reported that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals originally declared the law constitutional on Monday. However, on Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project “filed an emergency request asking the Supreme Court to block the ruling.”

The Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, Molly Collins, said the union is “thrilled that people are going to be able to vote in this election.

According to Politico, the vote was 6-3, and the law was struck down on the grounds that it “discriminated against minorities by forcing many of them to get new identification.”

Although there were complaints that absentee ballots had been sent with no notification of the need for a photo ID, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen insisted that they “will be exploring alternatives to address the Court’s concern and have voter ID on Election Day.”

I believe the voter ID law is constitutional, and nothing in the Court’s order suggests otherwise,” Van Hollen said.

The law requiring voter IDs in Wisconsin was originally passed in 2011. Similar laws have been passed in other states, including Virginia, where the State’s Board of Elections announced that approximately 100,000 voters might not be able to vote in the November elections, due to the fact that they do not have a valid photo ID.

While 34 states have passed laws requiring voters to have photo IDs, Wisconsin isn’t the only state making last minute changes.

Also on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, blocked the voter ID law in Texas, calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax,” and saying that its purpose was to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens by creating “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.

Following the federal judge’s decision, the Texas Attorney General’s office announced that it plans to appeal the decision immediately. The Deputy Communications Director, Laura Bean, said that the office will “urge the Fifth Circuit to resolve this matter quickly to avoid voter confusion in the upcoming election.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that voter ID laws are constitutional so we are confident the Texas law will be upheld on appeal,” Bean said.