Federal Judge rebukes Wisconsin on Voter ID

Early voting indicates 450,000+ ballots already cast
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Story highlights

  • A federal judge has chastised Wisconsin officials for failing to comply with a court order
  • He added the state had "done little to inform" the general public about "credentials valid for voting"

(CNN)A federal judge criticized Wisconsin officials for failing to comply with a court order regarding the state's Voter ID law, but he declined a request to suspend the ID requirement for the upcoming election.

Judge James Peterson of the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, said state officials had "done little to inform" the general public that "credentials valid for voting" would be issued to those who visit the DMV and initiate the ID petition process. Peterson ruled from the bench Thursday but only posted an eight-page written order several hours later.
    The order comes after VoteRiders, a voting rights group, sent a volunteer to 10 different DMVs across the state and received inconsistent information from state officials about the requirements of the law including one who erroneously said that the legal situation is "kind of up in the air right now."
    While Peterson said he did not think he had the authority to suspend the law, he ordered the state to take several actions to train its officials and communicate the law's requirements to the public. The state, for example, is required to file a proposed one-page informational sheet by noon Friday that "clearly and succinctly" explains the process behind obtaining the voter credential. Officials must also revise the DMV website to better explain the process.
    Peterson said his order "will provide reasonable assurance that those without an acceptable voting ID can get one without undue burden."
    A spokesman from the state did not respond to an email requesting comment.
    "Judge Peterson issued a clear order on the demonstrated failure to Gov. (Scott) Walker's administration to properly implement a voter ID law and taking steps to try to keep as many legal voters as possible from being disenfranchised by bureaucratic malfeasance and unscrupulous partisan politics," said Scot Ross, executive Director of One Wisconsin, a group challenging the law.