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ACLU Tries To Revive Voter ID Lawsuit

Lawsuit Would Affect Only Certain Groups Of Voters

Shawn Johnson/WPR

The American Civil Liberties Union asked a three-judge panel on a federal appeals court Thursday to revive a lawsuit that would undo Wisconsin’s voter ID law for some residents.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman blocked Wisconsin’s entire voter ID law in 2014 on the grounds that it could prevent many voters from casting ballots. That decision was overturned by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which ruled that Wisconsin’s law was similar to another one upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

ACLU Attorney Sean Young was back before the Appeals Court Thursday, asking judges to revive a narrower lawsuit. It would let only certain voters bypass the photo ID requirement, and only if they signed sworn statements that they fit certain categories.

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“People without Social Security cards are in a catch-22 situation,” said ACLU Attorney Sean Young, when pressed by judges for examples where the ID law still creates a burden. “You need a Social Security card to get a photo ID, but you need a photo ID to get a Social Security card.”

The Wisconsin Department of Justice argued the ACLU was out of bounds in trying to revive an issue already decided by the court.

Lawsuits tied up Wisconsin’s voter ID law for years after it was passed. The law faced its first major test earlier this week in Wisconsin’s presidential primary when the state saw high turnout even as many voters said they weren’t ready for the new restrictions.