High courts dealt a blow to proponents of voter ID laws in Texas and Wisconsin late Thursday night.
A federal judge in Texas ruled the state’s ID law is an “unconstitutional poll tax,” and the Supreme Court prevented Wisconsin officials from enforcing the state’s voter ID law in the upcoming midterm elections, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Texas officials plan to immediately appeal the ruling, but Wisconsin will have to wait for a full case before the Supreme Court following the elections.
Attorney General Eric Holder praised both rulings. “This Department will never yield in its commitment to protecting that most sacred of Americans’ rights – the right to vote,” he said in a statement.
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Republican lawmakers passed the Wisconsin law three years ago, but a ban on the law issued by a federal judge was only overturned Monday, by the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Opponents of the law argued before the Supreme Court the recent ruling doesn’t leave them enough time to inform voters they’ll need an ID to vote.
The state maintained voters have had years to get an ID, and pointed to a poll indicating 75 percent of likely voters expect ID to be required.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday night to uphold the federal judge’s ban until opponents of the law can make a full case against the Court of Appeals ruling — effectively blocking implementation of the law in this year’s elections.
“The Court today effectively ruled that racial discrimination simply cannot spread to the ballot box,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen told the WSJ he believes the law is constitutional and the state will look for a way to address the court’s concerns.
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