Wisconsin Will Not Enforce Voter ID on April 7, Despite Supreme Court Decision
The U.S. Supreme Court will not consider the constitutionality of Wisconsin's voter ID law, meaning the state is free to impose it, but the AG says not next month.
Absentee ballots have already been mailed and early in-person voting started Monday, so state Attorney General Brad Schimel says it's too late to enforce the law for the April 7 election.
It appears the nation's high court put Wisconsin's photo ID requirement on hold last year because the case reached the justices only a short time before the November election. Some people had already received and returned absentee ballots without the identification mandate.
The Supreme Court did not comment on its decision Monday not to review the constitutionality of Wisconsin's voter ID law. Several other states' laws on voting requirements remain pending before the justices.
Gov. Walker and the Republican-led Legislature approved voter ID in 2011, but court challenges have mostly blocked the law. Wisconsin enforced it only once, during the 2012 February primary.
The City of Milwaukee posted signs at polling places listing acceptable forms of identification, such as driver’s licenses and military IDs.
Neil Albrecht, executive director of the city Election Commission, calls the signs a great resource.
“Both to the public and to the election workers. It gives the large font, large sign, gives the election workers an opportunity to walk a voter over, run through the list with them, and then work with them in terms of whether or not they have some form of a photo ID that meets the requirement,” Albrecht says.
The city has piled up the signs in a warehouse for the last three years.
Wauwatosa City Clerk Carla Ledesma says she’ll lug out the informational materials her office prepared a few years ago to see if the items can be used again. She plans to ramp up public education efforts later this year.
“We’ll likely post on our website again about the changes. We’ve got a bulletin board downstairs. Some people just like to read things in hard print copy. We’ll definitely have training about this at the poll worker meetings that’ll be coming up prior to the February 2016 election,” Ledesma says.
Residents who don’t have the required ID for voting, including those without birth certificates, can get a free, state identification card through the DMV.
The first scheduled statewide election requiring photo IDs will be the spring primary in February 2016.