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Constitutional Law — photo identification

Wisconsin Supreme Court


Constitutional Law — photo identification

Requiring photo identification to vote does not violate the Wisconsin Constitution.

“Plaintiffs produced evidence at trial that, in the course of obtaining a DOT photo identification card for voting, government agencies charged them fees to obtain supporting documents for their applications. A common example is a birth certificate, which is satisfactory proof of name, date of birth and citizenship, and can cost $20 to obtain. E.g., Wis. Stat. § 69.22(1)(a) and (c). The requirement for such documents arose under Wisconsin administrative rules that implement Act 23. E.g., Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a).”

“In order to resolve the conflict between Act 23 and Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(a), we interpret the administrative rules and explain that the discretion of the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) administrators must be exercised in a constitutionally sufficient manner. Such exercise of discretion requires the issuance of DOT photo identification cards for voting without requiring documents for which an elector must pay a fee to a government agency. See Wis. Admin. Code § Trans 102.15(3)(b) and (c) (permitting issuance of DOT photo identification cards for voting without the documents described in § Trans 102.15(3)(a)). Our conclusion employs a saving construction of § Trans 102.15(3)(b), conforms to Act 23’s mandate and relieves a severe burden on the right to vote that would otherwise exist. Because with a saving construction of § Trans 102.15(3)(b) Act 23 does not place a severe burden on the right to vote, we apply rational basis scrutiny and conclude that Act 23 is reasonably related to the State’s significant interests.”


2012AP1652 NAACP v. Walker

Roggensack, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Lazar, Maria S., Madison; Kawski, Clayton Patrick, Madison; For Respondent: Sumara, B. Michele, Milwaukee; Halstead, Aaron N., Madison; Saks, Richard, Milwaukee

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