Wisconsin voters will not be required to present photo ID cards to vote in the General Election on Nov. 4.
Voters may be confused because the law, known as "Act 23," has been blocked by various courts since it was enacted in 2011. In what is probably the final judicial ruling on Act 23 before the Nov. 4 election, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked implementation of Wisconsin’s voter photo ID law on Oct. 9. The majority agreed with challengers to the law who argued that it would likely "cause chaos at the polls."
The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether it will further review the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals that upheld the law on Sept. 12.
"I welcome this Supreme Court ruling and the strong message it sends to all who think they can manipulate our voting laws just because they disagree with what we have to say," said Rep. Gwen Moore. "Those who trample on our civil liberties with impunity in pursuit of political supremacy forget that this nation was built on the principle that we all are ‘created equal.’"
Prior to that, Act 23 was blocked by federal district Judge Lynn Adelman on April 29. Adelman ruled that the law is unconstitutional and violates the federal Voting Rights Act.
The attorney general of Wisconsin appealed Adelman’s decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. There, a three-judge panel voted unanimously to overturn Adelman’s decision and reinstate Act 23. Opponents of the law then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Early or "absentee" voting began Monday, Oct. 20. "Wisconsin is a ‘no excuse’ absentee voting state, meaning you can vote by absentee ballot for any election for any reason, including convenience," according to the City of Milwaukee Web site.
There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot before any election: Voters can vote "in-person absentee" by casting ballots at the Zeidler Municipal Building, 841 N. Broadway, before the election; or "by mail absentee" by requesting a ballot by mail that would be mailed back in a postage-paid reply envelope. Requests for an absentee ballot by mail must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30.
In-person absentee voting, on weekdays only, ends at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31.
Andrea Waxman is a staff reporter at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. A professional writer, she is completing a graduate certificate in Digital Storytelling at Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor for a community newspaper and taught English and Japanese in several area middle and high schools.
Waxman has lived in Milwaukee since 1981, but spent most of her early years living in Tokyo, where her father was stationed at the American embassy. She returned to Japan in 1986 and again in 1993 when her husband was there as a Fulbright scholar.
In her free time, Waxman enjoys theater, movies, music, ethnic food, cities, travel, reading - especially the news of the day - and all kinds of people. She is interested in working for social justice and contributing to the vitality of the city.