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Politics & Government

ACLU Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Block Wisconsin Voter ID Law

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With fewer than five weeks until Election Day, the American Civil Liberties Union is asking the Supreme Court to let Wisconsin people vote without a photo ID.

Federal appeals court ruled on September 12, that Wisconsin could enforce its Voter ID law for the November 4 election. The judges did not ruled on the constitutionality of the law, but tossed out the injunction that had been blocking it.

Since the September ruling, election officials have been rushing to inform voters who already received absentee ballots, that they must now present a photo ID card. The state Government Accountability Board is asking the Legislature for nearly a half-million dollars to inform voters of the law and to prepare poll workers. The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee will consider the request, on Tuesday.

The ACLU maintains that the requirement to obtain a government-issued photo identification card will discourage tens of thousands of Wisconsin adults from voting in November, particularly seniors, students and people of color.

According to a statement from the ACLU, "the appeals court's order is fueling voter confusion and election chaos. Eleventh-hour changes in election rules have traditionally been disfavored precisely because the risk of disruption is simply too high."

Supporters of the Voter ID law call it a common sense requirement for voting and one that would deter voter fraud.

In the latest Marquette Law School Poll, released this week, about 20% of registered voters had not heard they would need a photo ID this November. Just over 70% did know. Among likely voters, 18% did not know and 75% were aware of the requirement.

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