UPDATE: Voter ID ruled constitutional, but still not in effect - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Voter ID ruled constitutional, but still not in effect

MADISON (WKOW) -- A state appeals court has ruled the state's Voter ID law to be constitutional, but that doesn't mean it is in effect.

When the Wisconsin League of Women Voters pitched its case against Voter ID in January of 2012, it clearly resonated with Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard Neiss.  He ruled in their favor two months later, striking down the law.   But Judge Niess's ruling was reversed Thursday morning.

"We had three members of the Court of Appeals here in Madison unanimously rule that photo ID is constitutional here in the State of Wisconsin," said J. B. Van Hollen, Wisconsin Attorney General.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals disagreed with the League of Women Voters argument that showing a photo ID at the polls amounted to an extra qualification to vote.

"I understand the position of the court.  I respectfully disagree, but we'll see how their other case litigates out and we'll see what other options they pursue here," said Rep. Robb Kahl (D-Monona).
The injunction from that other case, brought by the NAACP, remains in place.  That means Voter ID is still on hold.  The Second District Court of Appeals in Waukesha must still rule on that injunction.

"And I'll point out that the decision in this one case was very narrow and certainly opened the door for additional reasons why the bill could be unconstitutional," argued Scot Ross, Executive Director of the liberal, Madison-based group One Wisconsin Now.

But Attorney General Van Hollen disagrees.

"I would expect a similar outcome, in part, because I think the facts for us, for the state, for Photo ID were perhaps even stronger in that case than they are in this case," said Van Hollen.

There are also two federal cases still pending, but some Democrats seem resigned to the fact that even if those cases go in their favor, Republicans will pass revised legislation to achieve their goals.

"This is at the top of their to-do-list of things and they're gonna keep working until they check it off," said Rep. Kahl.

The two federal cases are on hold until the both state cases are resolved.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin appeals court says a law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls is constitutional.

Republicans passed a law in 2011 requiring voters to show photo identification, saying the mandate would help fight election fraud. The League of Women Voters filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court in October 2011 challenging the law. Judge Richard Niess ruled the law was unconstitutional in March 2012, saying it would abridge the right to vote.

The 4th District Court of Appeals reversed Niess on Thursday, saying the league failed to prove that the law is unconstitutional.

The league's attorney, Lester Pines, had no immediate comment.

Another Dane County judge's decision blocking the requirement in a separate lawsuit still stands. Two federal lawsuits challenging the requirement are pending as well.

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