Wisconsin voter photo ID law lands in court

A law Republicans in Minnesota and other states badly want faces a Wisconsin court challenge.

Requiring voters to produce photographic identifications before voting is a fundamental Republican principle nationwide these days, but the League of Women Voters has sued to stop the Wisconsin law. It is to become effective in 2012, although it was tested during legislative recall elections this year.

Minnesota Republicans failed to get their version of the proposal into law, mostly due to opposition from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, but are talking about asking voters to put the concept into the state Constitution.

Minnesota Republicans want the measure in the Constitution, where courts or future legislatures cannot simply overturn it as they could a law.

Reaction was mixed when Wisconsin elections officials tried out the photo ID concept during the recall elections. In some places, lines moved fine. But elsewhere there were reports of delays and fears that there will be even longer waits during bigger elections, such as next year’s presidential vote.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spearheaded the ID law and said that it only makes sense since the state already requires an identification to obtain a library card, cold medicine and other goods and services.

“I will continue to implement common sense reforms that protect the electoral process and increase citizens’ confidence in the results of our elections,” Walker said.

The League of Women Voters counters that the state Constitution only bars children, felons and the mentally incompetent from voting, but is silent about requiring photo IDs.

Opponents of the concept argue that minorities, elderly, disabled and poor people often do not have photos IDs, so Republicans would make voting more difficult for them.

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