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Injunctions bar enforcement of voter ID law in April election

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March 12, 2012

Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent injunction on Monday March 12, 2012, blocking implementation of the state's new Voter ID law. In his decision, Niess wrote: "A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence - the people's inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote - imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people."[1]

Democrats were pleased with the ruling, saying it had only been a matter of time.

"We already knew that Scott Walker's efforts to suppress voting in Wisconsin offended our state's norms and traditions. Now, for the second time, a judge has ruled that it offends Wisconsin's Constitution."[2] - WI Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate

Cullen Werwie, a spokesperson for Governor Scott Walker, believes the judges are interfering with common sense.

"It’s a shame activist Dane County judges continue to stand in the way of common sense. We are confident the state will prevail in its plan to implement photo ID."

State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said that he believes the voter ID law is consistent with the constitution and will appeal the decision.[3][4]

March 6, 2012

MADISON, Wisconsin: Governor Walker suffered a loss this Tuesday as Judge David Flanagan ruled in favor of the NAACP, issuing a temporary injunction preventing the enforcement of the state photo identification law. The injunction prevents the Governor and the Government Accountability Board from enforcing or implementing the photo identification requirements laid out in the law. The trial to decide whether the injunction becomes permanent is scheduled for April 16, leaving the voter ID law ineffective during the April 4 elections.[5]

"If no injunction is issued, a clearly improper impairment of a most vital element of our society will occur. The duty of the court is clear. The case has been made. Irreparable harm is likely to occur in the absence of an injunction."[5] - Judge David Flanagan


The state Department of Justice is reviewing Flanagan's ruling.

"We disagree with the ruling and will continue our efforts to defend Wisconsin's voter ID law, which is similar to laws that have already been upheld by the United States Supreme Court."[5]
-Dana Brueck, The state Department of Justice spokeswoman

Governor Walker remains confident of victory in the upcoming trial.

"Requiring photo identification to vote is common sense. We require it to get a library card, cold medicine, and public assistance. Ensuring the integrity of our elections is one of the core functions of government."[5] - Cullen Werwie, the governor's spokesman

In response to the ruling, pro-Walker activists have circulated an image of Judge Flanagan's signature on a signed petition recalling Governor Walker.[5]

“The very fact that Dane County Judge David Flanagan signed a petition to recall Governor Walker calls today’s court proceedings regarding Wisconsin’s voter ID law into question.”[6]
- Ben Sparks, Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesman


The Democratic Party of Wisconsin praised the decision.

"Today's action that halts the implementation of flawed legislation that makes it harder for students, seniors and minorities to exercise their right to vote is a victory for all Wisconsinites. Wisconsin law should focus on increasing voter participation, not diminishing it."[5] - Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin

Democratic State Rep. Jocasta Zamarripa of Milwaukee, said the ruling could boost turnout among Milwaukee's under-represented communities, especially Latinas and African-American men.[5]

See also