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    Voter ID Tag

    The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Wisconsin's new voter ID laws are constitutional, meaning that those heading to the polls in November will need to show ID before casting a vote. Via ABC News:
    State elections officials are preparing for the photo ID law to be in effect for the Nov. 4 election, even as opponents continue their legal fight. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project asked the U.S. Supreme Court last week to take emergency action and block the law. ... A lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, struck the law down as unconstitutional in April, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters who may lack such identification. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the 7th Circuit to overturn that ruling. The three-judge panel agreed with Van Hollen. The judges said Wisconsin's law is substantially similar to one in Indiana that the U.S Supreme Court declared was constitutional.
    Last month, the same panel of the 7th Circuit issued a short Order vacating the district court injunction staying enforcement of the law, and instead held that the voter ID laws would indeed be in effect for this November’s election. The court indicated that a full decision on the merits would be forthcoming. Progressive activists in Wisconsin and across the country had a meltdown following the ruling:

    The legal challenges surrounding Wisconsin's contentious voter ID law just got a little more complicated. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union, League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin and Advancement Project asked for a full-court hearing to reconsider September 12th's ruling allowing the State to implement voter ID requirements in time for the midterm elections. Via Bloomberg:
    Contending last week’s ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago came too close to the election date and will sow confusion among voters and polling place officials, the American Civil Liberties Union, League of United Latin American Citizens of Wisconsin and Advancement Project asked for a rehearing by a full 10-judge panel. The groups submitted their request yesterday. The court today gave Wisconsin officials until Sept. 23 to respond. ... “No court has permitted a voter ID law to go into effect this close to an election based on last-minute changes to the law,” the opponents of the measure said in yesterday’s filing.
    September 12's ruling allowed the provisions to go into effect only because the State eliminated barriers to acquiring a valid ID. This countered arguments that the requirements could cause irreparable harm to voters:

    In a ruling just handed down (h/t RightWisconsin), a panel of the 7th Circuit has vacated a prior injunction staying enforcement of the law, and holding that it will be in effect for this November's election. The full Order is embedded at the bottom of the post. The case was argued before the Court of Appeals earlier today. The critical finding was that recent changes enacted in Wisconsin to make it easier to get an ID obviated the likelihood of irreparable harm, a necessary test for an injunction:
    The district court held the state law invalid, and enjoined its implementation, even though it is materially identical to Indiana's photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008). It did this based on findings that it thought showed that Wisconsin did not need this law to promote an important governmental interest, and that persons of lower income (disproportionately minorities) are less likely to have driver's licenses, other acceptable photo ID, or the birth certificates needed to obtain them, which led the court to hold that the statute violates §2 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §1973. After the district court's decision, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin revised the procedures to make it easier for persons who have difficulty affording any fees to obtain the birth certificates or other documentation needed under the law, or to have the need for documentation waived. Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, 2014 WI 98 Guly 31, 2014). This reduces the likelihood of irreparable injury, and it also changes the balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief. The panel has concluded that the state's probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court.

    Opponents of Wisconsin's voter ID laws won a small victory yesterday when U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman denied the state of Wisconsin's request for a stay of his decision forbidding the enforcement of voter ID laws. Judge Adelman rejected the petition because he felt that the state was unlikely to overturn on appeal his original ruling blocking the requirements from going into effect. Wisconsin's voter ID laws are currently under fire in both state and federal courts. Last month, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the laws as constitutional, but this did not convince the District Court to set aside its original ruling. Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, however, is optimistic about his chances on appeal. He has already filed a petition with the U.S. Seventh Circuit asking the Court to allow Wisconsin's voter ID provisions to go into effect for the November 2014 elections.

    Last month, the Justice Department asked for an injunction to prevent the state of North Carolina from implementing changes the legislators made to state election law. The lawsuit, first filed in 2013, is backed by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, and claims that the new law--namely, its strict voter ID requirement--was passed in violation of the 14th, 15th, and 16th Amendments, as well as section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. However, a federal district judge has ruled against the DoJ, which means that North Carolina's new election laws will be in force for the midterm elections come November. The court held that, although the DoJ's lawsuit has merit (meaning that the court can't justify simply dismissing it,) attorneys for the plaintiffs failed to provide a "clear showing" of entitlement (meaning that they failed to show the court that they would succeed on the merits of their legal claims.) The court also said that, with regards to several of the claims, the plaintiffs had failed to show that they would suffer irreparable harm before trial in the absence of an injunction. North Carolina's new election laws contain a complete overhaul of the state's policies. Although the main point of contention rests with the new voter ID laws, the bill also reforms existing law. From the opinion:
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