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Judge temporarily stops new voter ID law

Judge David Flanagan

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A Wisconsin judge on Tuesday granted a temporary injunction to groups trying to stop the state’s controversial new voter identification law.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan’s decision to grant the injunction stops the law from being in effect for the state’s April 3 presidential primary election.

The NAACP’s Milwaukee branch and immigration rights group Voces de la Frontera filed their lawsuit last year. A five-day trial on whether there should be a permanent injunction is scheduled for April 16.

Flanagan had first denied an injunction request in February, saying NAACP plaintiffs did not sufficiently demonstrate irreparable harm for an injunction. The NAACP’s lawsuit included 40 affidavits describing plaintiffs’ difficulties with complying with the law. But Flanagan at the time said the affidavits did not sufficiently demonstrate irreparable harm to justify the injunction. A hearing scheduled for April was supposed to focus on new plaintiff testimony.

Flanagan’s motion orders the Government Accountability Board and Gov. Scott Walker to immediately cease any effort to enforce or implement the law pending the April 16 trial.

NAACP Attorney Richard Saks said he feels good about the decision, but he wouldn’t comment further.
Government Accountability Board spokesman Reid Magney had no immediate comment on the judge’s order. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, which represented GAB in the case, did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

There are four lawsuits against the state’s new voter ID law, which went into effect in February. All of them are pending.

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