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U.S. Supreme Court Blocks Wisconsin Voter ID Law

Wisconsin voters will not have to present a photo ID in order to vote in November's election. The Supreme Court has blocked the law, at least for 90 days.

Election leaders here had been rushing to enact the law since September 12, when a federal appeals court ruled that Wisconsin could require voters to show photo identification. Earlier court decisions had halted the law for most of the three years, since the Legislature approved Voter ID in 2011.

Opponents argued that with only seven weeks until the election, thousands of residents would not be able to obtain the required photo identification. Groups, including the ACLU, asked the Supreme Court to stay the appeals court decision and late Thursday the high court agreed.

The parties fighting Voter ID now have 90 days to file a petition with the Supreme Court, urging it to consider the constitutionality of Wisconsin's law. In the meantime, the state cannot enforce it.

The ACLU of Wisconsin released a statement late Thursday that it "is profoundly relieved that the Supreme Court has halted the state's ill-advised rush to implement the voter ID requirement. Thanks to this ruling, our clients and the many other voters without ID will be able to vote on November 4 without unnecessary obstacles."

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has defended the law. He said, following Thursday's court ruling, that he still believes Voter ID is constitutional.

Supporters insist the requirement to show photo identification is reasonable and will deter fraud.

Earlier Thursday, the Government Accountability Board decided to spend $400,000 to educate people about the law. Now it remains to be seen how elections leaders will respond to the conflicting instructions absentee voters have received.