Friday’s ruling by Dane County Judge Richard Niess goes further than the one issued by another judge last week because it permanently halts the law. Tuesday’s order by Dane County Judge David Flanagan blocked the law for the April 3 presidential primary and local elections, but not beyond that.
The latest order may make it harder for the state to put the voter ID law into effect before the April 3 election because it would have to win two appeals in less than four weeks. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked for a stay of the earlier order, and he is expected to appeal it this week.
Whether Wisconsin’s photo ID law will stand is widely considered to be decided by a higher court. There are four lawsuits pending against it – two in Dane County court and two in federal court in Milwaukee.
The rulings come just weeks before likely recall elections for four Republican state senators. Recall elections are also likely for Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, but they have not yet been ordered.
The decision came the same day the U.S. Department of Justice blocked Texas’ voter ID law, which it said would disproportionately affect Hispanic voters because they are less likely to have appropriate identification.
Wisconsin and Texas were two of the seven states the passed voter ID laws after Republicans swept statehouses in the 2010 elections. Supporters argue the new laws prevent voter fraud and boost confidence in the election system. Detractors note instances of voter impersonation are incredibly rare and say the laws will disenfranchise voters.
In case you are wondering:
Judge Niess did not sign the recall petitions, according to his office.
So by republican Logic, not signing makes him a strong supporter of Governor Walker thus making this ruling even stronger. Although I will be curious to see what the Dane County republicans use to attack Judge Niess’s character after this.