A panel of Republican judges quickly reinstated Wisconsin’s voter identification law on Friday night, just hours after hearing arguments in the case.


A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago stayed a lower court judge’s  order blocking implementation of the law, which requires voters show a government-issued ID with a photo. It hasn’t been implemented since the 2012 primaries because of legal challenges.

"Having read the briefs and heard oral argument, this court now stays the injunction issued by the district court. The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November’s elections," the appeals court wrote in a order issued Friday afternoon. "The district court held the state law invalid, and enjoined its implementation, even though it is materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board" in 2008.

Wisconsin officials now plan to implement the law for the midterms.

"We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November general election," said Kevin Kennedy, the state's election director, according to the Associated Press. "We are now focused on communicating with local election officials and voters, and will have more information about the details next week."

And Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) praised the law as beneficial for voters.

"Voter ID is a common sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process," he said in a statement. "Today's ruling makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat."

Democrats and civil rights activists have been fighting this law, and dozens like it in a number of other states, as discriminatory towards the poor and minorities, noting it’s often harder for those subsets of the population to meet the requirements of voter ID laws.

The Obama Administration was also engaged in the case, having filed an amicus brief in July urging the appeals court to uphold the lower' court's ruling.

The appeals court said, however, that a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that came down in July sufficiently narrowed the law to make it less harmful to minorities.