Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin early-voting restrictions

A federal judge has struck down early-voting restrictions that were passed by Wisconsin Republicans in a lame-duck session last month.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled Thursday that the early-voting limits were clearly similar to restrictions that were blocked two years ago, according to The Associated Press.

The GOP-led state legislature passed a measure in December that would limit early voting to no more than two weeks before an election.

Peterson, who also struck down the earlier restrictions, wrote in his ruling that “this is not a close question,” according to the AP.

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“Defendants do not even attempt to show that there is a material difference between the number of days permitted under (the lame-duck law) and the number of days permitted under the previous law,” he wrote.

Peterson also ruled against provisions that would block voters from using expired student IDs and and temporary IDs older than 60 days as identification at the polls.

The early-voting restrictions come after the overwhelmingly Democratic Wisconsin cities of Madison and Milwaukee had early voting open for six weeks before the midterm elections.

Republicans lost every statewide race in the midterms, but maintained slim majorities in the statehouse.

Republicans in Wisconsin then passed a bevy of bills in a lame-duck session, many limiting incoming Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) power. Evers defeated former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.

Liberal groups quickly filed a lawsuit asking that Peterson block the recently passed restrictions.

Legislative leaders in the Wisconsin Senate and Assembly did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding whether they planned to appeal the ruling.