Lawyers on both sides of the federal lawsuit over voter ID are preparing for an appeal after a judge overturned the law in a first-of-its-kind decision this week.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he'll ask the Court of Appeals in Chicago to stay the order by Judge Lynn Adelman that overturned Wisconsin's voter ID law. Van Hollen says the ruling was “fatally flawed.”
“Judge Adelman's decision and his order are very, very broad,” he said. “They're contrary to our Supreme Court's constitutional rulings already, and to the other degree that he's made rulings, they're extremely novel.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld other state voter ID laws, but attorney John Ulin, who represented the plaintiffs in this case, says Wisconsin's law was purposely challenged on different grounds. He says it's the first time anyone has won a state voter ID lawsuit based on Section 2 of the federal Voting Rights Act, but it might not be the last.
“The case is quite deliberately a blueprint for Section 2 challenges to voter ID and other forms of vote denial,” Ulin said.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act bans racial discrimination in voting. It's often used in redistricting lawsuits. But attorney Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez of the Advancement Project—another group that challenged Wisconsin's voter ID law—says what made it work here were the stories of people who lacked IDs and the statistics to back them up.
“There's nothing in the Voting Rights Act that says that discrimination doesn't count if it's with regards to photo ID, and there's certainly nothing in the language of Section 2,” she said.
Van Hollen says he'll ask for an expedited appeal, but those challenging the law say the court will want to take its time to consider this case.
You can watch the full interview with Attorney General Van Hollen Friday at 7:30 on Wisconsin Public Television's Here and Now .