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Walker, Burke Weigh in on Voter ID Ruling


State officials have until Tuesday to respond to a federal appeals court in Chicago. It wants to know what they think of the court reconsidering the status of Wisconsin’s Voter ID law.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the court ruled that Wisconsin can only enforce its Voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election. Opponents of the law are now asking the entire court to take up the case.

Gov. Scott Walker and his Democratic opponent Mary Burke have weighed in on the issue. Walker thinks the full court of appeals would concur with the three-judge panel – that Wisconsin can enforce its Voter ID law.

He and fellow Republicans passed it in 2011, but the courts have blocked it since 2012. The law requires people to show a government-issued photo ID card at the polls.

Supporters insist it would deter fraud; opponents claim it will make voting difficult for thousands. Even though the law is being enacted just seven weeks before an election, Walker says the courts have spoken.

“The Wisconsin state Supreme Court upheld the law and clearly defined what was expected of us. We followed through on essentially what they pointed out to make sure photo ID is available upon request. The panel of the Court of Appeals upheld that same approach. We expect in the end that any decision as to whether the larger panel would look at it or not would reach the same conclusion,” Walker says.

The federal appeals court has rarely granted requests for additional judges to reconsider cases. Walker’s Democratic opponent Mary Burke says she opposes the ID requirement for voters. She says some people don’t have the wherewithal to visit a DMV office to apply for a free ID, and especially this close to the Nov. 4 election.

“I talked to somebody recently who said because they have an eyesight impairment they don’t drive. They don’t have a driver’s license. They haven’t had a need for one. Even to get to the DMV is a hurdle for them because they don’t drive. I was at the DMV a few weeks ago. I had to get a new driver’s license. It’s not exactly something you can run in and do on your lunch hour,” Burke says.

Burke notes that some DMV offices in rural parts of the state are only open occasionally.

To accommodate urban voters, state officials announced this week that two offices in the Milwaukee area will be open on Saturday mornings, starting tomorrow. Organizers say it the weekend hours appear popular, the state my open other DMV offices on Saturdays, in 2015.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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