Wisconsin’s controversial strict voter ID law has been struck down by a federal judge, who said that the rate of voter fraud is “exceedingly tiny,” while voter ID laws place an unfair burden on poor and minority voters, who are less likely to have state-issued photo IDs.
District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his ruling that “The evidence at trial established that virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin. The defendants could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past.” The defendants were led by Governor Scott Walker, who had committed to calling a special legislative session if the law were struck down. His office now says that they’re “reviewing the decision for any potential action.” Meanwhile, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen promised “We will appeal.”
The ruling follows quick on the heels of an Arkansas ruling that struck down strict voter ID in that state. In general, Republican lawmakers favor strict voter ID laws, while Democrats, including President Obama, oppose the measures and consider them targeted attempts at preventing minorities from voting. If the Wisconsin and Arkansas rulings stand, they could set off a domino effect that leads to challenges of strict photo voter ID laws that already exist in 8 states and are pending in several others.