Judge hearing Voter ID trial says the law will remain in place f - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Judge hearing Voter ID trial says the law will remain in place for August election

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MADISON (WKOW) -- There will be no change to Wisconsin's voting laws before the state's August 9 primary, according to the federal judge hearing a challenge to more than a dozen state election laws.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson started the final day of testimony in the two-week trial by telling attorneys he will make a ruling by the end of July, which won't leave enough time to enact any changes he may order before the primary, which will help narrow the field of candidates in several state and federal races.

"Obviously I feel urgency in getting the decision out," Peterson said. He has scheduled final arguments for June 30.

Two liberal groups and voters are challenging more than a dozen voting-related laws passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature and signed by Governor Scott Walker in the past five years, including the one requiring a phot ID to vote in the state.

The groups are arguing against the process used to grant free IDs to people who don't have the required documentation, limitations on early voting times and places, and the elimination of straight-ticket voting. They claims these laws discriminate against the poor, racial minorities and younger voters who are more inclined to vote Democratic.

The state Department of Justice is defending the laws, claiming they have not suppressed turnout and that the state works hard to ensure everyone who needs a free ID to vote gets one.

Peterson also says he expects any ruling he makes to be appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I'm sure whatever I do will make one side or the other unhappy," he said. "There's a god chance everyone will be unhappy, which I guess will be justice."

Witnesses in the bench trial have included former chief of staff to then-Senator Dale Schultz, a Republican. That witness testified GOP state senators were "giddy" about passing the voter ID law because they saw it as increasing their chances of winning elections.

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