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Federal Judges Roll Back Wisconsin Voters' Rights

“This is a terrible, undemocratic ruling,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.

(Photo: Todd Wiseman)

In what critics say is a blow to voters' rights, a federal appeals court on Friday gave the state of Wisconsin the green-light to require voters to provide identification as a condition of casting a ballot.

Opponents of the rule say it imposes an unnecessary and often prohibitive requirement that disproportionately prevents people of color and low-income communities from voting. “This is a terrible, undemocratic ruling,” said Common Cause President Miles Rapoport.

The decision was issued in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago by a panel of three judges, all of them appointed by republicans. "The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes... enforce the photo ID requirement in this November's elections," they ruled. The Associated Press describes the decision as "stunningly fast" and likely orchestrated in time for the November elections.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, an avid backer of the voter identification requirements, immediately applauded the ruling.

In April a Federal judge struck down the identification requirement, charging that it discriminates against Black, Latino/a, and low-income voters, disproportionately depriving them of their constitutionally-protected right to cast ballots.

In response to Friday's ruling, Rapaport declared, "We have a message for the elected officials who erect such barriers: we’re determined to see that they don’t work. And in the long term, we’ll continue working across America to repeal unneeded and discriminatory voter ID requirements.”

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