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Wisconsin judge upholds injunction against state voter ID law

A judge for Wisconsin's Dane County Circuit Court on Thursday denied a motion [opinion, PDF] to remove a temporary injunction [JURIST report] against a controversial new law [2011 Wisconsin Act 23, PDF] requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls. Judge David Flanagan said that the state did not produce enough evidence to show that the injunction will cause it irreparable harm. He ruled that it is more likely removal of the injunction will cause irreparable harm to voters:

It is the essence of what has been persuasively shown thus far in this case that a vital interest of the public will be harmed if the injunction is not maintained. The public interest is served by the temporary injunction, not harmed.
The ruling came in a lawsuit brought by the Milwaukee National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons [advocacy website] challenging the law's constitutionality under the Wisconsin Constitution [text, PDF]. The case is set to go to trial April 16. Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen said the state has already filed for an appeal [press release] of this ruling. He said they are hoping to have it reviewed before the April 3 spring election and presidential primary.

The Dane County Circuit Court ruled in a separate case Tuesday that Act 23 is unconstitutional [JURIST report] and issued a permanent injunction against it. The state attorney general said that this decision has also been appealed. There have also been two other challenges to the law. One challenge was filed [JURIST report] by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Wisconsin and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty [advocacy websites] in a federal district court in December, claiming that it deprives citizens of voting rights in violation of the US Constitution. The Advancement Project [advocacy website] also filed a federal suit [JURIST report] in February on the grounds that the law is racially discriminatory.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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