Judicial Watch • Voter ID Laws

Voter ID Laws Archives | Judicial Watch

In a ruling that will likely have a national impact on future elections a Clinton-appointed federal judge has struck down Wisconsin’s photo identification law because he believes it discriminates against poor and minority voters.

How exactly? Under the law minorities “must pay the cost, in the form of time or bother or out-of-pocket expense, to obtain what is essentially a license to vote,” according to the Judge, Lynn Adelman, who was a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin before getting his lifetime judgeship. The measure also violates the federal Voting Rights Act because its effects impact Latinos and African-Americans harder than whites, the judge writes in his decision.

Ironically, to enter a federal courthouse in the United States—Judge Adelman’s place of employment—a photo ID must be presented, whether you are white, Asian, African-American, Hispanic or any other race. This is done for security reasons just as voter identification laws are passed to prevent election fraud, which is rampant in many states. Judicial Watch has already exposed this through its Election Integrity Project, an ongoing legal campaign to force states to clean up voter registration rolls. JW’s investigations have revealed that a number of states have more individuals on voter registration lists than individuals eligible to vote, including dead people.

Wisconsin’s law passed in 2011 and has faced a multitude of legal challenges from a consortium of leftist groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In 2012 a state judge issued an injunction banning implementation of the measure during the 2012 presidential election, but an appellate court reversed the order in 2013, ruling that the law is constitutional and therefore can be used as a tool to eliminate election fraud.

In its unanimous ruling, Wisconsin’s 4th Circuit appellate court said that the groups challenging the measure fail to make an effective argument that requiring an official photo identification at the polls is “so difficult and inconvenient” that it amounts to a “denial of the right to vote.” Therefore, the court writes, the challenge failed to demonstrate how the voter ID law violates the Constitution.

The federal ruling, issued a few days ago, says exactly the opposite. Judge Adelman writes that Wisconsin’s law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting practices or procedures that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in one of the language minority groups. The judge asserts that Wisconsin’s measure makes it harder for low-income and minority voters to cast ballots since they are less likely to have photo IDs or even the documents required to obtain them. This violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection, according to Judge Adelman.

As if the ruling weren’t bad enough, Wisconsin taxpayers will be forced to dole out more than $1 million to pay the legal fees and court costs of the leftist groups that sued to kill the voter ID law. The ACLU will be at the front of the line, but several other groups are also likely to get checks. They include the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the Milwaukee Area Labor Council and the Advancement Project. Other states across the nation have also paid hefty sums to defend their voter ID laws in court.

Dozens of states have laws requiring voters to show some type of identification and the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue. In 2008 the high court upheld Indiana’s Voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters.  “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

Even the famously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of voter ID laws. In a decision involving Arizona’s measure, the federal appellate court found that the “photo identification requirement is not an invidious restriction” and does not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the law, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax.

 

 

 

In a blow to the Obama administration’s effort to block voter identification laws, a state appellate court has ruled that Wisconsin’s voter ID measure is constitutional and therefore can be used as a tool to eliminate election fraud.

The decision, from the 4th District Court of Appeals, reverses a lower court’s injunction banning implementation of the measure during the 2012 presidential election. That means voters could not be forced to show a government-issued ID to cast a ballot in federal, state and local elections in Wisconsin, even though the state had passed legislation requiring it in 2011.

A consortium of leftist groups, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) legally challenged the measure, essentially asserting that it’s discriminatory. Last spring separate county judges ruled in favor of the leftist groups, with one declaring the voter ID law to be “unconstitutional” because it serves as a condition for voting at the polls.    

Reversing that decision this week, the 4th Circuit writes that one of the groups challenging the measure fails to make an effective argument that requiring ID at the polls is “so difficult and inconvenient” that it amounts to a “denial of the right to vote.” Therefore the challenge failed to demonstrate how the voter ID law violates the constitution, according to the unanimous ruling.

The U.S. Supreme Court has actually ruled on this issue (In 2008 it upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, finding that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters) as have other federal courts yet states continue to waste huge sums defending their voter ID laws, often against the federal government.

That’s because the Obama administration and his liberal allies in Congress assert that voter ID laws discriminate against minorities. In fact, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

In an effort to combat election fraud, more than two dozen states have laws requiring voters to show at least some type of identification to vote. Several—including Texas and Pennsylvania—enacted their voter ID measures in the last few years and the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has vowed to block them or at least scrutinize them. In fact, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez confirmed in 2011 that DOJ lawyers are probing voter ID measures to ensure that they’re not racially discriminatory.

Never mind that the nation’s High Court ruled years ago in favor of voter ID laws as an effective way for sates to protect the integrity of the voting process. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the Supreme Court wrote in its 2008 decision.

Even the famously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of voter ID laws. In a decision involving Arizona’s measure, the federal appellate court found that the “photo identification requirement is not an invidious restriction” and does not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the law, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax.

As if it weren’t bad enough that states are wasting millions to defend voter identification measures against frivolous federal lawsuits, the feds are being punished for filing the extraneous suits and have been ordered to pay one state’s legal costs.

The story comes out of South Carolina, one of more than two dozen states that have enacted laws requiring voters to show some type of official photo identification to vote. The idea is to prevent election fraud, but the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that requiring a photo ID at the polls discriminates against minorities because many are too poor to obtain them. The Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

The U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed with this assessment, upholding Indiana’s voter ID law in a 2008 ruling that says the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

Last spring the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Arizona requirement that voters show photo identification before casting a ballot. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the measure, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax. If true, that would violate equal protection rights within the Constitution.

The rulings haven’t stopped the bloated civil rights division at Obama’s DOJ from wasting resources to legally challenge voter ID laws across the nation, most recently in Texas, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Last week a federal court ordered the DOJ to pay South Carolina’s legal costs involving the multi-million-dollar challenge to a 2011 law requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

The DOJ tried blocking the measure, claiming that it disenfranchises hundreds of thousands of minority voters who don’t have a photo ID. A federal court disagreed and recently ordered the feds to pay a yet-to-be-determined portion of South Carolina’s $3.5 million legal tab over the “unnecessary” voter ID litigation. The DOJ is responsible for the high cost of the case, according to a South Carolina Attorney General rep quoted in a local newspaper story. For example, the DOJ delayed the case by 120 days and filed numerous frivolous motions.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a much-needed victory for voter identification laws, a famously liberal federal appellate court has upheld a state measure requiring citizens to show a photo ID before casting a ballot in an election.

The voter ID issue is getting hotter and hotter as the presidential election approaches. More than two dozen states have laws requiring voters to show at least some type of identification to vote. Several states—including Texas and Pennsylvania—have enacted voter ID measures in the last year and the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) has vowed to block them or at least heavily scrutinize them.

In fact, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez has publicly said that DOJ lawyers are probing voter ID measures to ensure that they’re not racially discriminatory. “We have received numerous inquiries about recently enacted state laws relating to voter identification requirements, voter registration requirements and changes to early voting procedures,” Perez said, adding that “we are carefully reviewing these laws.”

This has forced states to waste scarce tax dollars to defend the common-sense policy requiring photo identification at the polls. Democrats and the liberal civil rights groups that support them claim it discriminates against minorities. In fact, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

Even the U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed with that absurd assessment. In 2008 the High Court upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

This week the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Arizona requirement that voters show photo identification before casting a ballot. A renowned Latino rights group claimed the measure, approved by voters in 2004 to stop illegal immigrants from voting, discriminates against Hispanics because it creates a barrier for minorities that’s tantamount to a poll tax. If true, that would violate equal protection rights within the Constitution.

The 9th Circuit disagreed, saying that no proof was offered to show that the ID requirement gave Latinos fewer opportunities to vote. The Arizona law’s “photo identification requirement is not an invidious restriction” and does not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, the court wrote in its 73-page decision.

Judicial Watch applauds any measures—such as voter ID requirements—that help keep the election process free of corruption. Earlier this year JW launched the 2012 Election Integrity Project to assure that voter rolls are as clean as required by federal law. Through publicly available data, JW has already discovered that voter rolls in several states—including Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Alabama, California and Colorado—contain the names of individuals who are not eligible to vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texas is suing the Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court for blocking the implementation of a state voter identification law—passed to deter and detect election fraud—the Obama Administration claims discriminates against minorities.

The Texas Legislature passed the measure in 2011 and six months ago it was submitted to the DOJ for approval. More than a dozen states—including Kansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin—have similar laws that require voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls and the Obama Administration has launched a campaign to challenge them all.

Liberals claim the laws are discriminatory because many minorities are too poor or too ignorant to get a valid identification—provided free in most states that have passed voter ID laws—that proves they are who they say they are. In fact, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida congresswoman who chairs the Democratic National Committee, says voter ID laws are a “full-scale-assault” on minority voters designed to “rig” elections for Republicans.

With that said, the administration is utilizing the DOJ as a political tool to challenge voter ID measures like one already upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in 2008. In that case SCOTUS upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, ruling that the state’s interest in protecting the integrity of the voting process outweighed the insufficiently proven burdens the law may impose on voters. “There is no question about the legitimacy or importance of the State’s interest in counting only the votes of eligible voters,” the nation’s highest court said in its decision.

This hasn’t deterred the DOJ’s mission to eliminate voter ID laws. In the Texas case, the agency must approve the measure because the Federal Voting Rights Act prohibits changes to election laws in certain states without federal clearance. The Texas Secretary of State’s Office has been waiting for the DOJ preclearance since last July, but the feds continue stalling, essentially blocking the law’s implementation.

Among the stall tactics employed by the DOJ is requiring Texas to provide extensive information before ruling one way or the other. For instance, the state must tell the DOJ the number of registered voters by race and Spanish surname in possession of a driver’s license or other form of photo ID. It must also provide the number of registered voters with Spanish surnames who don’t have a driver’s license.   

In its complaint, filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Texas says it doesn’t record citizens’ race when they register to vote so it is unable to determine the racial makeup of registered voters who lack state-issued IDs.  “Indeed, the very reason Texas refuses to maintain racial and ethnic data on its list of registered voters is to facilitate a colorblind electoral process, and Texas adopted this race-blind voter-registration policy shortly after the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” the complaint says.

State officials are asking the court to approve its voter ID law, assuring that the measure will not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color, nor will it deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote because he is a member of a language minority group.

Sign Up for Updates!