A surprise decision from the 7th Circuit will allow Wisconsin to enforce its voter-ID law for the upcoming gubernatorial election. The court ruled that recent changes that give citizens more options to gain easier access to qualifying identification make the law legitimate and non-discriminatory, and noted that the statute in Wisconsin is “materially identical to Indiana’s photo ID statute, which the Supreme Court held valid in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board, 553 U.S. 181 (2008).” The changes in access to state-issued identification eliminated the differences between the Indiana and Wisconsin cases, the court ruled in lifting a temporary restraining order:
After the district court’s decision, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin revised the procedures to make it easier for persons who have difficulty affording any fees to obtain the birth certificates or other documentation needed under the law, or to have the need for documentation waived. Milwaukee Branch of NAACP v. Walker, 2014 WI 98 (July 31, 2014). This reduces the likelihood of irreparable injury, and it also changes the balance of equities and thus the propriety of federal injunctive relief. The panel has concluded that the state’s probability of success on the merits of this appeal is sufficiently great that the state should be allowed to implement its law, pending further order of this court.
The appeals remain under advisement, and an opinion on the merits will issue in due course.