By SCOTT BAUER
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Wisconsin’s new law requiring photo identification be shown at the polls will be filed in the next week or two, the head of the state chapter of the League of Women Voters told the election oversight board Monday.
Andrea Kaminski told the Government Accountability Board that the league was moving forward with the lawsuit in state court. The lawsuit will argue that the law is unconstitutional because it creates a new class of people – those without photo IDs – who are excluded from voting, she said.
Kaminski said the requirement sets up the potential that someone whose house burns down and loses all their possessions the night before an election would also lose their ability to vote just because they don’t have a photo identification.
“The new law faces an unfair burden on people who do not need a driver’s license,” she said.
Board members did not react to her statements which were made during the public comment portion of its meeting.
The Legislature passed the photo ID requirement and Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law earlier this year. Portions of it were in effect for recall elections targeting state senators this summer, but the requirement that voters show a valid photo ID won’t begin until next year.
The board also planned to discuss at its Monday meeting issues related to the implementation of the law, including what college IDs would be acceptable and what information they would have to contain.
The board was being asked by staff to clarify that only IDs from public or private colleges or universities that award an associate degree or higher, and that are accredited by a regional or national accreditation association, would be allowed. That would include all University of Wisconsin campuses.
The Legislature specifically rejected allowing IDs from technical colleges to be accepted. Elections board staff raised concerns that IDs from other institutions, like truck driving or cosmetology schools, could be valid under the law without the clarification.
The law further requires that students must establish that they are enrolled when they vote and that the student ID has an expiration date that is no later than two years after it was issued. The Legislature did not specify what document or form could be presented to establish enrollment or whether the expiration date could be printed on a sticker on the ID.