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Now that most state legislatures are out of session for the year the battle against voter ID moves from the statehouse to the courts. The League and its allies were successful in keeping voter ID bills from passing in a number of states including Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia. Only Kansas, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have passed voter photo ID laws that are currently in effect. In retrospect, thanks to the Leagues ongoing work, we are better off than we had anticipated when the legislative sessions began!
The State Leagues in South Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have gone to court to stop the implementation of photo ID bills that passed in their respective states. South Carolina and Texas are interveners in the pre-clearance process (the National Voting Rights Act requires that certain states with a history of voter suppression be required to have any laws dealing with elections to be pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice or a three-judge federal court panel in Washington, DC). The Texas trial started on Monday and is expected to last for approximately a week. The U.S. Dept. of Justice refused to pre-clear the law earlier this year because of the discriminatory effect of the law. We expect an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court regardless of how the judges rule. South Carolina’s suit will be heard later this month. New Hampshire also recently passed a voter ID bill but has yet to seek the required pre-clearance and the League is considering next steps.
LWVWI has been, thus far, successful in stopping the implementation of their photo ID law by suing the state in state court based on their state constitution. They have been granted a permanent injunction for now, thereby blocking the law for the time being. It is expected that the Wisconsin Supreme Court will have a final say on this law, at this time it remains unclear whether or not that will happen before the November election. LWVPA has filed a lawsuit to stop the implementation of their law before the November election. A recent report shows that as many as 750,000 voters in PA do not have the required photo ID to vote.
Click here for LWVUS updates on voter suppression.