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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Griper Blade: Wisconsin's Unconstitutional Voter ID Law

Wisconsin State Constitution
Scott Walker's voter suppression scheme has run into trouble -- and that trouble may be shared by other bills the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) drafted in other states. Specifically, ALEC's one-size-fits-all approach to legislative mass production doesn't actually fit all. Different states are, after all, different legal environments and a law that's fine in one state may be unconstitutional in another.

In striking down Wisconsin's voter ID law, Dane County Judge Richard Nies wrote, "A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence — the people's inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote — imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people." This was clearly a personal opinion of voter ID laws in general. But before we entertain cries of "judicial activism!" we have to consider an inconvenient fact -- the Wisconsin Constitution.

Center for Media and Democracy:

Article III, Section 1 of the Wisconsin Constitution provides that all state residents who are U.S. citizens and over age 18 may vote, and Section 2, according to the decision, "authorizes the government to exclude from voting those otherwise-eligible electors (1) who have been convicted of a felony and whose civil rights have not been restored, or (2) those adjudged by a court to be incompetent or partially incompetent, unless the judgment contains certain specifications."

According to Judge Niess, Section 1 and 2 provide the exclusive basis for creating laws that implement the constitutional requirements for voting. "The government may not disqualify an elector who possesses those qualifications on the grounds that the voter does not satisfy additional statutorily created qualifications not contained in Article III, such as a photo ID," he wrote...[CLICK TO READ FULL POST]

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