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Federal Judge Says Wisconsinites Without IDs Can Vote In November

Injunction Allows Those Who Can't Get Photo ID To Sign Affidavit, Cast Ballot

Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo

A federal judge has issued an order allowing Wisconsin residents who lack photo identification to vote in November.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman in Milwaukee issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday that allows people who haven’t been able to obtain IDs after a “reasonable effort,” to sign an affidavit at their polling place stating why they couldn’t get identification and verifying their identity. Then, they’d be allowed to vote on the spot.

Adelman also said the affidavit option won’t be in place for the Aug. 9 primary, saying elections officials don’t have time to implement it by then, but it must be in place for the Nov. 8 general election.

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The American Civil Liberties Union and the National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty filed a motion asking for the injunction in June.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Dale Voting Rights Project, said he’s pleased to see a remedy to the law put in place.

“We’ve said from the beginning that this law is a mistake – it’s a solution in search of a problem,” Ho said.

Adelman’s decision is similar to a rule decreed by Gov. Scott Walker in May, saying voters could vote if they provided a receipt proving they were working to get an ID.

Ho said the judge found Walker’s rule to be inadequate.

“The judge in this case found that that was just an unnecessary bureaucratic maze, that if you’re really serious about creating a procedure that’s going to be safety net for voters without ID, you’ll implement that at the polls, where voters can actually make use of it,” he said.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel released a brief statement lamenting the ruling: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision. We will decide the next course of action after Wisconsin Department of Justice attorneys have had time to fully review and analyze the court’s decision.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with original reporting, including statements from Brad Schimel and Dale Ho.