Federal Court Schedules Hearing on One Wisconsin Institute Request for Suspension of Voter ID Law

Evidence Shows Gov. Walker and Administration Perpetrating a Continuing Affront to Democracy With Failure to Properly Administer Law

MADISON, Wis. — Federal Judge James Peterson has scheduled a hearing for October 12 on One Wisconsin Institute’s filing yesterday requesting the state voter ID law be suspended. According to new evidence provided to the court, the state is systematically failing to properly administer the strict voter ID law, including numerous instances of false or misleading information being given out at DMV locations around the state.

“For five years Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature have been perpetrating the real fraud in Wisconsin elections, manipulating the rules on voting to try to give themselves an unfair advantage,” commented One Wisconsin Institute Executive Director Scot Ross. “Now they’re in violation of a federal court order, not even complying with rules they wrote. We’re asking the court to step in and put a stop to this continuing affront to our democracy.”

In their filing, One Wisconsin Institute provided transcripts of multiple visits to the DMV, some by voters seeking ID. In most cases, DMV employees provided inaccurate information that was inconsistent with how the state claimed the ID petition process (IDPP) should work.

A link to declaration of Molly McGrath.
A link to declaration of Susan McGrath.

In addition, the filing shows roughly one-third of people whose petitions were denied have not received an ID to which they were entitled because they have moved and the state has made little effort to locate them. Finally, the Institute filing cites a lack of outreach by the state to inform people about the ID petition process, and in fact, the state has spent no additional money to advertise the process in response to a previous court order requiring that they notify the public.

Judge Peterson had previously issued an order requiring the state to investigate a widely reported incident of a legal voter seeking an ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles being given information that directly contradicted a July federal court order on the administration of the IDPP.

Ross noted that evidence in the two-week court trial in their case, One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Mark Thomsen, et. al., revealed that in their private deliberations GOP state Senators were “giddy” over the prospects of passing a voter ID law they believed would discourage voting and help them win elections. A witness, under oath, testified that current Republican Senate President Mary Lazich urged her colleagues to consider the impact of voter ID on areas of the state that have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates, including the City of Milwaukee and the state’s college campuses.

He concluded, “Gov. Walker and his administration have shown they either cannot or will not comply with the federal court ruling in our voting rights case. Immediately suspending the voter ID requirement is necessary to ensure every legal voter in Wisconsin that wants to cast a ballot in the November election has the opportunity to so.”

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