UPDATE: Wis. Supreme Court won't take voter ID cases - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Wis. Supreme Court won't take voter ID cases


MADISON (WKOW) --  A trial on the constitutionality of Wisconsin's Voter ID law took on added importance Monday, after the State Supreme Court said it would not hear appeals on two injunctions currently blocking the law.

Dane County Judges' Richard Niess and David Flanagan each ordered that the Voter ID be blocked in March.

Judge Flanagan is presiding over the case brought against the state by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, an immigrant rights group.

Trial in that case started Monday.

After convincing Judge Flanagan to issue that temporary injunction, attorneys for the NAACP are seeking for a permanent ban this week.

A University of Wisconsin political science professor is their expert witness on the law and said it is both unconstitutional and unnecessary.

"The fact is, there is virtually no evidence at all, that in-person voter impersonation at the polling places occurs with any frequency if it occurs at all," said UW Professor Ken Mayer.

Mayer said the law also puts a large burden on potential voters.

An 83 year-old woman gave video testimony to that effect from her hometown of Brokaw, Wisconsin.

Ruthelle Frank testified she cannot seem to get a valid birth certificate, which is needed to get a photo ID.

"When they did the second one, it says its the new and correct information, they still got my dad's, or my maiden name, spelled wrong," said Frank.

But, attorneys for the State of Wisconsin argued that Frank didn't follow through on the process to actually get that birth certificate, and that many of the witnesses who will testify now actually have a photo ID.

"All but three of the 18 individuals who were deposed now have a state-issued ID card or a driver's license," said Attorney Carrie Benedon, from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.  "The evidence that is expected to be presented at trial will not identify a single, eligible elector who is unable to obtain a state issued ID card."

Benedon also implied that the NAACP's entire case is disingenuous.

"Significantly, the evidence will show that the plaintiffs made a deliberate effort to recruit plaintiffs and witnesses by having people stand outside a DMV office, to conduct what they claimed to be a survey," said Benedon.

The plaintiffs are expected to call witnesses again Tuesday.
The trial is scheduled to last all week.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin law that would require voters to present a photo ID at the polls is on trial in Dane County Court. 

Judge David T. Flanagan started hearing arguments and testimony in the case filed by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera against the State of Wisconsin.

In his opening argument, NAACP Attorney Richard Saks told Judge Flanagan the law, known as Act 23, is unconstitutional and provides no assurances that it would combat any type of fraud.

Wisconsin Dept. of Justice Attorney Carrie Benedon argued the plaintiffs will not be able to show one eligible voter who is unable to obtain a state ID card.

The trial is expected to last the entire week and Judge Flanagan's verdict took on added importance Monday.

That's because the Wisconsin Supreme Court has refused to take up appeals of the two rulings blocking a the new law.

Both Judge Flanagan and Dane County Judge Richard Niess ordered injunctions blocking the law in two separate cases.

The court did not explain why it was not taking up either appeal (League of Women Voters and NAACP) in separate orders issued Monday.

Four of the seven justices had to agree to take the cases for the high court to hear them.

Two separate state appeals courts last month had asked the court to take up the appeals and consolidate the cases in order to speed resolution.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will be at Monday's court hearing and will have more on the court's developments tonight on 27 News at 5 and 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A trial is set to begin in a case challenging Wisconsin's law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls, even as the state Supreme Court considers whether to take the case.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan last month issued a temporary injunction blocking the law from taking effect. A second judge issued a permanent injunction, and both decisions were appealed.

The state appeals court on March 28 asked the Supreme Court to take up the issue, saying speed was important given pending elections.

But the Supreme Court has not said it will take the cases. That means the trial starting Monday in one of the two lawsuits is proceeding.

That case was brought by the NAACP's Milwaukee branch and Voces de la Frontera, an immigrants' rights group.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann will be at Monday's court hearing and will have more on the court's developments tonight on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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