Wisconsin election officials were scrambling Monday to deal with a federal appeals court’s ruling reinstating the requirement that voters show photo identification when casting ballots.
The law had been on hold, after being in effect only for the low-turnout February 2012 primary, following a series of court orders blocking it. But a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, just hours after hearing oral arguments, said late Friday that the state could proceed with implementing the law while it weighs the merits of the case.
“We’re all in a holding pattern right now waiting for clarification,” Albrecht said.
Perhaps it is just the reporter’s choice of the word “scrambling,” but why is there scrambling? And why are clerks in a “holding pattern?” This law has been on the books for three years. It has been held up in court for a while, but there was always a very good chance that it would pass constitutional muster. Even if it fell short, there was a very good chance that the Republican-led legislature would tweak it to make sure it was okay with the courts. After all, over 30 states already have some form of Voter ID. In other words, there was every reason to believe that this law would come into force in Wisconsin one way or another. Furthermore, the law was already active for one election – even if it was a primary election – before it was held up in court.
So why is there any “scrambling?” Wouldn’t a competent Government Accountability Board already have gone through the effort to prepare all relevant instructions and policies in preparation for the law’s implementation? If the GAB had done their job correctly, all that should have been necessary was to dust off the procedures from when they implemented the law the first time and move forward. I hope the reporter’s characterization of “scrambling” is overblown.
On another note from the same story, this is just funny:
“Scott Walker knows that we can win, and he believes that efforts to keep voters from getting to the polls is a win for Republicans,” Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki said in a fundraising email late Friday.
The law was passed in 2011 – three years ago and at least two years before Mary Burke even entered the scene. Walker hasn’t had anything to do with it since signing it. It has been in the hands of the courts. For Zepecki to suggest that Walker somehow got the 7th Circuit Court to lift the stay on the law because he “knows that [Burke] can win” is beyond ridiculous.