Today Wisconsin's State Supreme Court heard arguments on challenges to the state’s “Voter ID” law, which requires all citizens to present a government-issued photo identification when they vote.
Shortly after the law was enacted in 2011, an appeals court ruling put a temporary hold on the provision that required election clerks to ask people to show photo identification at the polls.
We at AARP Wisconsin want that provision permanently lifted. We are urging the high court not to impose on the rights of voters who have no access to photo ID. We filed a “friend of the court” brief, arguing that this law sets up an unnecessary roadblock that could restrict access to voting for some Wisconsinites.
For example, at today's hearing, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson herself spoke about her father, who emmigrated to America without a birth certificate. He was naturalized more than two years ago, and never received a driver's license. The Chief Justice asked how someone like her father, who voted in every election, would fit under the restrictions of this law.
AARP has opposed state voter ID laws in various states in recent years, largely because politicians have put restrictions on voting based largely on exaggerated claims of voter fraud.
Also, older voters are most likely to have difficulty producing IDs demanded by voter ID laws, especially if they are poor and/or have disabilities that impede their mobility.
Wisconsin has traditionally gone to great lengths to make sure its residents are able to vote. We are hopeful the Supreme Court will rein-in this law.
Today's challenges were originally filed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and The Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP. The state Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling by June.