The Heart Of The Difference

This past week saw a Wisconsin voter photo ID struck down by a Federal Appeals Court. The grounds: the Court determined that too many poor and elderly people would be in properly inconvenienced in an attempt to obtain photo IDs.  Consequently these previous voters would be denied the vote for unfair reasons.

Governor Walker has said he will appeal the finding and if necessary take it to the Supreme Court. The Governor says the law is constitutional. Hmmm.

Opponents of voter photo ID cheered the Court’s decision. Opponents have long maintained that instituting mandatory voter photo ID would place undue burden on the poor and elderly.  Opponents also alleged the law was aimed at discouraging large blocks of voters who were thought to be Democrat leaning.

The rush to voter photo IDs has been a phenomena of GOP controlled States.  These laws were premised on ensuring that future votes were free of fraud. A worthy goal but but not supported by recent incidents of voter fraud. Fixing something not broken?

So what is the basis of Governor Scott’s appeal?

The appeal will emphasize the constitutional procedure used to enact the voter photo ID law. The Governor will assert that the State acted in accordance with its constitution and therefore the law should stand, full stop.  In other words, the State followed the correct procedure in enacting a law and therefore it should stand.  Hmmm.

The Heart of the Difference is glaringly simple. These GOP controlled States say their law are “legal”, that is they followed their State Constitutional principles. The Federal Appeals Courts, on the other hand does not question the States ability to enact voter requirements but says these requirements must be reasonable and fair to all voters.  The Appeals Court concluded  the law’s consequences were disproportionate and negative in impacting minorities and the elderly.   The law does not meet the test of treating all citizens the same under the law.

This controversy will make wonderful case study materials for law students. Weigh the correctness of a properly  enacted law versus whether the law is fundamentally fair to residents. Until States can accumulate evidence that voter fraud is taking placing on a large scale, it is hard to see how States can implement voter photo ID laws as “precautions”.

Explore posts in the same categories: Democratic Party, Politics, Republican Party

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