A federal trial scheduled to begin Monday in Wisconsin could set the stage for legal challenges in a number of states to laws requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
Wisconsin’s photo voter ID law has been on hold since Dane County judge declared it unconstitutional soon after it passed in 2011.
Supporters say the law helps combat voter fraud. Opponents say it disenfranchises poor and minority voters who are less likely to have state-issued identification.
The trial involves a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a now-deceased Wisconsin woman who was born at home in Jackson, Tenn., in 1935 and never received a birth certificate. Her daughter says that without a birth certificate, Bettye Jones had to fight for months to get a state ID to vote.
Here are the plaintiffs:
BETTYE JONES; LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS (LULAC) OF WISCONSIN; CROSS LUTHERAN CHURCH; MILWAUKEE AREA LABOR COUNCIL, AFL-CIO; and WISCONSIN LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS EDUCATION FUND
The complaint is that the law will burden African American and Latino voters disproportionately.
Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racially discriminatory voting practices, will have its day in court when a judge hears a challenge to Wisconsin’s voter ID law. The Advancement Project and pro bono counsel from the firm Arnold & Porter will argue against the requirement, implemented in 2011, on Nov. 4.
“After Shelby, Section 2 provides one of the last lines of defense against legislatures that would disenfranchise voters of color,” said Advancement Project co-director Penda Hair. “Yet we are witnessing the greatest assault on voting rights in decades.”
According to the Advancement Project, evidence shows that 28,000, or 16 percent, of African-Americans in the state do not have a driver’s license or state ID, compared to 9.3 percent of whites.
h/t commenter Omnes Omnibus