By Collin Roth and Brian Sikma
On Tuesday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge David Flanagan issued a temporary injunction on Act 23, better known as the Voter ID law. The Voter ID law, which went into effect in February and saw little to no problems during the February primary, is a common-sense safeguard for election integrity in Wisconsin and similar laws have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
When the law was passed last June, Left-wing groups around the state mobilized a full-court press in both state and federal court to strike down the law before the Walker recall elections as well as the 2012 presidential. It now appears that the NAACP and immigrants rights group Voces de la Frontera may have struck the first blow against the law with the temporary injunction by Judge Flanagan that will nullify the law for the April 3, presidential primary and spring non-partisan elections.
Judge Flanagan signed the Scott Walker recall petition on November 15, 2011 with his wife Maureen circulating the petition. In 2009, Judge Flanagan donated money to the campaign of liberal Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.
Judge Flanagan, writing in his injunction blocking voter ID implementation, incredibly asserted that there is no evidence that voter fraud in Wisconsin would be prevented by the voter ID law. Point V of the injunction declares, “There is no evidence of voter fraud that would have been prevented by Act 23.” But Flanagan walks back that rather bold assertion inside the following paragraph, writing that investigations into voter fraud have produced “extremely little evidence of fraud,” apparently implying that some evidence of fraud does exist.
It would appear that the legislature’s authority to implement a law, so long as it does not conflict with the constitutionally protected rights of citizens, does not depend on whether or not it solves a problem deemed large enough by a judge. The standard of need may factor into a decision of constitutionality, but Judge Flanagan does overlook a point when he says that Act 23 would have prevented no fraud.
Media Trackers discovered last fall that three SEIU voters engaged in suspect election conduct – and one of them is being investigated for fraud – in a case that would not have happened had voter ID been required. The three individuals voted in a Wisconsin election from a hotel address using out-of-state identification.
Thus, at minimum, some form of voter ID would insure that even if the number of fraud cases is small, the public’s confidence in the election system is not shaken by cases of fraud and abuse. Wisconsin is suffering from incompetence in the Government Accountability Board, the bureaucracy tasked with running and overseeing elections in the state. Adding to the confidence deficit by removing election integrity protections and looking the other way when it comes to voter fraud is not the right course.