Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen speaks out on Voter ID issue

MADISON -- Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen spoke out about the Voter ID Law issue Tuesday. Van Hollen has filed appeals in two cases where two separate Dane County judges have placed injunctions on the Voter ID Law.

Van Hollen is fighting two separate lawsuits. The first case is the NAACP vs. Governor Scott Walker. In that case, Dane County Judge David Flanagan issued a temporary injunction on March 6th. That ruling has been appealed.

The second case is the League of Women Voters vs. Governor Scott Walker. In that case, Dane County Judge Richard Niess issued a permanent injunction on March 12th, blocking the law, saying the Voter ID Law violated the state Constitution.

Van Hollen has appealed the second ruling and if need be, would like the state Supreme Court to decide the matter as soon as possible. "The public policy makers in the state is the state Legislature, not the courts. We believe (the Voter ID Law) was constitutionally crafted, and will withstand constitutional muster," Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen says with Wisconsin's presidential primary election coming up on April 3rd, time is of the essence. "We've already had one election using these new laws, and it worked fine. We have another election coming up in April, one in May, one in June. It's very important that we have some stabilization, and that the decisions of our public policy makers, if legal, be upheld and entitled to be used, so that's why we're moving forward so fast," Van Hollen said.

Kevin Kennedy, the director of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, says he believes the appeal should wait until after the presidential primary election, which is less than two weeks away. "We advised the Attorney General's Office that it would be better that nothing change between now and April 3rd. We don't want public clerks to be in a yo-yo type position," Kennedy said.

Van Hollen says an immediate appeal is crucial, to avoid confusing the public and poll workers. "To have them go back and do it the old way again, and then potentially be going forward and doing it the new way again, causes them more work and confusion that we believe is unnecessary, since we believe we will ultimately prevail on the merits," Van Hollen said.

Tuesday, the Dane County Circuit Court denied Van Hollen's motion to stay the injunction, meaning the law remains blocked.

Both the NAACP case and the League of Women Voters case will likely end up before the state Supreme Court. The only question is whether the cases will get there before voters take to the polls in two weeks.