Kevin Drum has a really good overview of why Wisconsin’s voter id law was struck down yesterday.
Judge Lynn Adelman, a federal district judge in Wisconsin, struck down that state’s voter ID law today. This was despite the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision in Crawford v. Marion County that Indiana’s voter ID law was justified. So what was different this time?
In a word, better arguments from one side. In Crawford, the state presented virtually no evidence that in-person voter fraud was a problem in Indiana—but neither did the plaintiffs provide much evidence that a voter ID law presented a serious obstacle to voting. Given this, the state’s interest in preventing voter fraud—even if that interest was more speculative than real—carried the day.
This time, the state once again produced virtually no evidence that in-person voter fraud was even a potential problem. But the judge was presented with loads of evidence that the burden of obtaining a photo ID was, in fact, quite high for low-income voters in particular. Since Crawford mandated the use of a balancing test to assess whether a photo ID law was justified, that made the difference and Wisconsin’s law was struck down.
Kevin’s excerpts from Adelman’s opinion are worth reading to see the complete vacuity of the case for voter impersonation, and the burden id laws place on the poor. The Roberts court will have to come up with a work of sophistry far beyond their usual stellar efforts to reverse this ruling.