Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs called Monday’s permanent injunction handed down by a Dane County Judge blocking Wisconsin’s Voter ID law “another step in the right direction for our state and the tens of thousands of voters who would have been disenfranchised during elections this year.”
Coggs made her statement in a news release in response to Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess’ ruling, which called the Voter ID law unconstitutional because “its requirements abridge the right to vote.”
Niess’ ruling comes a week after another Dane County judge, David Flanagan, granted a temporary injunction blocking the law for the April 3 presidential primary and local elections.
Flanagan’s injunction was in response to a lawsuit brought by the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera.
Niess’ ruled on a lawsuit brought forth by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.
Coggs noted that in the voter ID law case that involved the NAACP and Voces de la Frontera, some of the information used by Flanagan to make his decision was generated by Common Council legislation she sponsored, along with co-sponsors Aldermen Ashanti Hamilton and Terry Witkowski.
The Coggs legislation required the city Election Commission to track data on persons turned away from or not able to register at the polls for voter identification reasons.
“It (the data) was provided to the plaintiffs and was entered as evidence in the case and was part of a body of material that was considered prior to the judge’s decision,” Coggs explained.
The trial for a permanent injunction in the NAACP/Voces de la Frontera lawsuit is reportedly set for April 16.
In his eight-page opinion, Niess said the state’s voter ID law undermines the foundation of a government’s existence—“the people’s inherent, pre-constitutional right to vote” and “imperils its legitimacy as a government by the people, for the people, and especially of the people.
“It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution,” the opinion continues. “This is precisely what 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 does with its photo ID mandates.”
“I am pleased with the judge’s decision and I applaud the League of Women Voters for filing the lawsuit that helped strike down this misguided ‘solution in search of a problem.’”
James Hall, Milwaukee Branch NAACP president said he and Voces de la Frontera are pleased with that the suit prevailed.
“Judge Niess’ ruling, combined with Judge Flanagan’s temporary injunction of last week, send a powerful message that Act 23 (Wisconsin’s voter ID law) has significant and substantial constitutional infirmities, which violate the spirit of voter access and citizen participation in the electoral process in Wisconsin,” said Hall.
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