FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 30, 2014
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Department of Justice today intervened in the ACLU of Wisconsin voting rights case, filing an amicus brief in opposition to the voter ID law. The case is currently at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The 37-page brief said, in part:
Regarding the “constitutional claim, the district court credited plaintiffs’ evidence demonstrating that, under Act 23, many eligible voters would no longer be able to vote or would encounter significant obstacles in order to vote... Because it found [the government’s] interests minimal at best, the court properly concluded that Act 23 imposes an unjustified burden on the right to vote, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, as applied to those voters.
In evaluating plaintiffs’ [Voting Rights Act] claim, the court properly considered the ‘totality of circumstances’ – including whether social, political, and historical conditions in Wisconsin hinder minorities’ political participation and whether the State’s asserted justifications for Act 23 are ‘tenuous’ – and correctly concluded that Act 23 will have a racially discriminatory result, in violation of Section 2 [of the Voting Rights Act].”
Larry Dupuis, Legal Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, added: "The federal court was right to strike down this discriminatory law, and the federal government clearly agrees with them. It's too bad that some elected officials still seem fixated on depriving Wisconsinites of the right to vote."
Background: On April 29 federal court ruling that struck down the state's voter ID law as unconstitutional and in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had challenged the law on behalf of numerous Wisconsin voters, charging the measure violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause and the VRA. The ACLU, the ACLU of Wisconsin, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty and Dechert LLP argued the case at trial in November.
More information about this case is available at: https://www.aclu.org/voting-rights/frank-v-walker-fighting-voter-suppression-wisconsin.
The ACLU of Wisconsin is a non-profit, non-partisan, private organization whose 7,000 members support its efforts to defend the civil rights and liberties of all Wisconsin residents. For more on the ACLU of Wisconsin, visit our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @ACLUofWisconsin and @ACLUMadison.