A federal judge struck down Wisconsin’s voter identification law on Tuesday, arguing that it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.
U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman issued the decision on Wisconsin’s law, which has had its share of legal obstacles since the state's legislature passed it in 2011. A state judge also ruled it unconstitutional in 2012. [READ THE OPINION.]
Adelman called the law “discriminatory” and wrote in his opinion that it “has a disproportionate impact on Black and Latino voters because it is more likely to burden those voters with the costs of obtaining a photo ID that they would not otherwise obtain."
Under the voter ID law, Wisconsin residents would have been required to show a state-issued photo ID to cast their ballots at the polls.
Adelman agreed with the law’s opponents who have argued the law disenfranchises poor and minority voters because they’re less likely to have photo IDs or the documents needed to obtain them.
“This burden is significant not only because it is likely to deter Blacks and Latinos from voting even if they could obtain IDs without much difficulty, but also because Blacks and Latinos are more likely than whites to have difficulty obtaining IDs,” Adelman said.
State officials can appeal the ruling.
The Wisconsin ruling comes just days after a judge in Arkansas last week struck down that state's strict photo ID law. Judge Tim Fox of the Pulaski County Circuit Court said the state’s law is unconstitutional.
Wisconsin and Arkansas are among several states that have strict photo ID laws. The others include Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states have passed voter ID laws, 31 of which are in effect.