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Supreme Court Puts Wisconsin Voter ID Law on Hold

The one-paragraph decision prevents a law that would have required voters to present a photo ID from being used in November.
Image: A voter signs the registration log for a school board primary election at the polling place at the Lakeview Community Center in Racine, Wis.
A voter signs the registration log Feb. 21, 2012 , for a school board primary in Racine, Wisconsin.Scott Anderson / Journal Times via AP file

The Supreme Court on Thursday barred Wisconsin from requiring voters to show a photo ID in Nov. 4 elections. In an unsigned, one-paragraph order, the court overturned lower-court rulings allowing the state to enforce the requirement next month.

The majority gave no explanation. Three dissenting justices — Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — said that while it was "particularly troubling that absentee ballots have been sent out without any notation that proof of photo identification must be submitted," there wasn't enough proof that the lower court had "demonstrably erred."

The three-year-old law was used in primaries in 2012 but hasn't been enforced since then as it works its way through court challenges. Meanwhile Thursday, in Texas, a federal district judge declared that state's similar ID law unconstitutional as a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Texas said it would appeal.



— M. Alex Johnson