Saturday, May 03, 2014

157.2 - Good News: federal court strikes down Wisconsin voter ID law

Good News: federal court strikes down Wisconsin voter ID law

Next up, something we all should keep an eye on if we want to preserve the image of a functioning democracy is the attempts to limit and restrict the right to vote through the use of, among other means, voter photo ID laws, which - despite the claims - do nothing to prevent voter fraud, which is virtually non-existent, but do hinder the ability of, especially, the poor and minorities to vote, as they are the most likely to lack the necessary documents.

Well, some good news on that front. On Tuesday, April 29, US District Court Judge Lynn Adelman struck down Wisconsin's new voter ID law, finding that it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters.

The plaintiff in the case was an elderly woman named Ruthelle Frank; the elderly being another group which suffers a disparate impact under the law.

Frank was born at home on August 21, 1927. Her mother recorded her birth in the family Bible. Frank still has it. A few months later, when she was baptized, her mother got a notarized certificate of baptism. Frank still has that document, too. Sbe also has a Social Security card, a Medicare statement, and a checkbook.

What she doesn't have, because there never was one, is a birth certificate. And without that, she couldn't get a state ID - and so she wouldn't be able to vote. Or, more correctly, continue to be able to vote, as she has voted in every election since 1948 and is herself an elected official in her home town.

She and several other plaintiffs represented by the American Civil Liberties Union joined the League of United Latin American Citizens in suing Gov. Scott Walkalloveryou to overturn the law. And now they have won.

The victory could be temporary: The state says it will appeal the ruling and appeals courts, populated largely by well-off, comfortably-situated people so out of touch with social reality as to find it hard to imagine anyone not having a photo ID because after all you need one to get on a commercial airliner, don't you, have too often not been kind to plaintiffs like Ruthelle Frank. Still, the fight goes on and every victory is still a victory.

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