MADISON — The leader of the Wisconsin Senate said Wednesday that the Legislature will not go back into session to fix Wisconsin’s voter ID law, which was struck down Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said that although he supports the planned appeal of Adelman’s decision, Tuesday’s rejection of the law left little room for lawmakers to act.
“I don’t see it (Legislature) coming back,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s not going to be resolved for the November election.”
Senate President Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, agreed.
Any new law would have to be approved by Adelman, who not only struck down the voter ID law but also blocked the state from enacting any similar requirement, said John Ulin, an attorney who represented civil-rights groups and individuals challenging the law.
“This pretty much ends the idea that we could come in and do something through a legislative effort that would make sense at this point,” Fitzgerald said.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said on a conservative radio talk show Wednesday he still would like the Legislature to convene this year to take up a revised voter ID bill, though he fears it would still be tangled up in the courts come Election Day.
Gov. Scott Walker said he’s confident the law will be upheld on appeal. Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has vowed to challenge Adelman’s ruling in the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Adelman found that Wisconsin’s law disproportionately disenfranchises black and Latino voters, who are more likely to lack the required photo ID. The judge also found no evidence of the type of voter fraud that proponents, including the Republican majority in the state Legislature, have used to justify passing voter ID laws.
In an interview, Walker held out little hope that changing the law could satisfy Adelman, a former Democratic state senator who sits on the U.S. District Court in Milwaukee. Adelman ruled that the law violated not only the U.S. Constitution but also the federal Voting Rights Act.
Walker said the judge offered no technical fixes to the law that would make such a requirement acceptable.
“This was just basically a full-out rejection of the position and one that we think will not be sustained,” the governor said.
Wisconsin’s voter ID law, passed in 2011, has been suspended since 2012 by previous circuit court rulings that found it violates the state constitution.
Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, who voted for the voter ID law but has since reversed his position, said Adelman’s decision affirms what he has heard from constituents.
“This is going to keep more people away from the polls than prevent fraudulent voting because there’s just no evidence that it (fraud) is a real issue,” Schultz said.
“I don’t see it (Legislature) coming back. It’s not going to be resolved for the November election.” Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Senate majority leader