Appeals court gives temporary okay to Wisconsin voter ID law

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 12, 2014 2:35 PM

By Fiona Ortiz

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court in Chicago ruled on Friday that Wisconsin can implement its 2012 law requiring voters to present photo identification when they vote, allowing the state to put the new rules into effect at the general election in November.

The rush order from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals - which heard arguments on the case earlier on Friday - is temporary while the court works on its definitive ruling on the issue.

In the hearing on Friday, Wisconsin had asked a three-judge panel - all of them appointed by Republican administrations - to urgently lift a lower court's injunction against the voter ID law.

A federal district court in Wisconsin ruled in April the law was unconstitutional, blocking its implementation even though it was upheld in a separate ruling by the state's Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have challenged the law, saying that it discriminates against the poor and minorities, who are less likely than white voters to have photo IDs and the underlying documents needed to obtain such IDs.

Wisconsin and other states have argued they need such rules to prevent voter fraud.

"Today's decision is a victory for common sense, fair elections, and the right of every eligible voter to cast a vote that will count," Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Editing by G Crosse and Sandra Maler)