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Judge refuses to reinstate Wisconsin's voter ID law

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Voter ID photo
Voter ID photo

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State Republicans and the Justice Department suffered a legal defeat Thursday afternoon, when a judge in Madison refused to reinstate Wisconsin’s voter ID law.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan rejected the state’s request to toss out a preliminary injunction from last week.

It put the photo ID requirement of the law on hold, until a trial could be held in mid-April in a lawsuit from the NAACP and the Milwaukee Hispanic group Voces de la Frontera.

The state almost immediately appealed the judge’s ruling to the Second District Court of Appeals in Waukesha.

The state has said Wisconsin’s law is just like the one in Indiana that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld. But Flanagan said Indiana’s law was based on protections under the U.S. Constitution – while the Wisconsin lawsuit was based on broader protections for voters outlined in the state Constitution.

The state also argued that suspending the ID law would cause confusion by local government clerks in the April 3rd elections. But Flanagan said that doesn’t rise to the level of irreparable harm which is needed to overturn the preliminary injunction.

Meanwhile, a state appeal is pending in a second lawsuit against the ID law, filed by the League of Women Voters. A permanent injunction against photo ID mandate was granted in that case last week. 

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