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UPDATE: Back in March, we turned our attention to the 47th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. In the months since, we’ve crisscrossed the nation and detailed how the fights of 50 years ago are being resurrected today. The Atlantic’s Andrew Cohen yesterday offered his own telling, invoking Dr. King’s famous quote, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice,” to break down the dangerous myths and machinations of voter suppression, concluding that “[t]hese new laws seek to bend the arc backward again, to take away from people their effective right to vote.” It’s important that we remain vigilant over the next nine weeks, so that on November 6 eligible Americans are able to cast a vote and have it count. In the words of LBJ, “Then with his vote and his voice he is equipped with a very potent weapon to guarantee his own dignity.” Click here and here for more from Andrew Cohen.
UPDATE: Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is now asking the state Supreme Court to reinstate Act 23 (aka AB 7) in time for it to apply in November. Along with the state Department of Justice, he will file a Petition to Bypass Court of Appeals and a Motion for Consolidation in both cases. League of Women Voters lawyer Lester Pines called the move a kind of a hail Mary pass by the Attorney General, and seemed confident that the Supreme Court would reject the requests. He pointed out that this is the same court that refused to immediately take up the cases earlier this year. Still, the voting rights supporters who originally brought cases are concerned and will fight the Attorney General’s requests. Meanwhile, two federal challenges to the law are currently pending, with hearings scheduled in October.
UPDATE: Judge David Flanagan made permanent his earlier injunction in the case brought by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, joining a permanent injunction issued by Judge Richard Niess in the League of Women Voters case. Now both courts would have to lift their blocking orders in order for Act 23 (aka AB 7) to be reinstated. With appeals pending, and no further rulings expected until after November, it is virtually guaranteed that the ID requirement will not apply in the general election.
Defenders of Wisconsin’s Act 23 (aka AB 7), a voter ID law sponsored by ALEC affiliated legislators and signed by ALEC alum Scott Walker, were dealt a blow last week when State Representatives Robin Vos and Bob Ziegelbauer were forced to end their attempt to intervene in court on behalf of the law. The Government Accountability Board determined that they received legal services in a manner inconsistent with the state ethics code.
Last May, Wisconsin Governor and ALEC Alum Scott Walker signed Act 23 (aka AB 7), a voter ID law that also counts ALEC affiliated legislators among its sponsors. Thanks to the NAACP/Voces and LWV court challenges, voters in Tuesday’s recall election were not legally required to produce ID in order to vote – but that doesn’t mean Election Day was problem free.
Wisconsin appellate decisions typically take nine to 12 months, according to Lester Pines, an attorney with the League of Women Voters. The Department of Justice has asked the appeals panel to expedite the League's case, but Pines said even if it agrees to do so, he does not believe it would issue a ruling before the recall elections.
The Supreme Court has been deeply divided in pivotal cases in recent years, with conservatives claiming a 4-3 majority. Pines said Monday's rulings shows the justices do not always make decisions along ideological lines.
Two separate injunctions are currently blocking enforcement of Act 23 (aka AB 7), the voter ID law originally sponsored by Representative Jeffrey Stone and several others with ties to ALEC. A trial is underway before Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan.
Voting rights and voter suppression, especially voter ID, continue to make headlines in many states. Below is a sample of the latest. For more information, click here and also check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.
March 7, 2012 marked the 47th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” when voting rights marchers were beaten in their attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. NAACP President Ben Jealous joined activists from then and now in marking the occasion with another march, saying protest is just as necessary now as it was then.
UPDATE: Yesterday, Judge Niess issued a new ruling in the League of Women Voters case, a permanent injunction against Act 23 (aka AB 7). WBAY reporting. This follows his ruling last week on standing in the case, and Judge Flanagan’s ruling in another brought by the Milwaukee NAACP and Voces de la Frontera. FairVote’s Wisconsin legal memo is available here.