Wisconsin Attorney General says he will fight Voter ID Law ruling

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsin Attorney J.B. Van Hollen told FOX6 News in an exclusive interview Thursday, July 19th he plans to fight a Dane County judge's ruling permanently blocking Wisconsin's Voter ID Law.

Republicans passed a bill last year that requires all voters to show photo identification at the polls. The Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera sued, arguing the law creates burdens for voters.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan sided with the groups, ruling the law impairs the right to vote. Flanagan had initially issued a temporary injunction against the law, and this week, made that injunction permanent.

Judge Flanagan called Wisconsin's Voter ID Law one of the strictest laws in the nation, with the potential of denying certain groups the right to vote.

"What our office is doing is everything possible.  It is the will of the Legislature and the governor that is supposed to drive public policy decisions -- not the will of the judge.  It's very important for us as the attorneys for the state of Wisconsin that we enforce those laws, that we defend those laws and we do so as rapidly as possible, so the will of the Legislature is carried into effect," Van Hollen said.

Representative Peter Barca, the outspoken Assembly Minority Leader said the case is settled law, and an appeal is a waste of time and money.

"We had two judges -- two different courts rule that what they've passed is unconstitutional, and I believe it is unconstitutional.  Why are they going down this path and continuing to spend more and more taxpayer dollars after they've lost two suits in a row on the same topic?" Barca said.

The Legislature passed the Voter ID Law during the contentious 2011 session. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker, and in place for one election, before it was challenged and injunctions were issued.

Barca says Republicans went too far.

"They're constantly pushing the most extreme versions of bills and that's what we've seen the last year and a half," Barca said.

Van Hollen says he has no doubt in his mind that voter fraud occurs, but is equally convinced the Voter ID Law is necessary to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

"We can very simply protect the constitutional right of lawful voters by making sure that other voters who don't have an ID go through some simple procedures to be able to vote.  We have to look at both sides of this coin," Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen said he would be "very surprised" if the Voter ID Law were in place for either the August primaries or the November elections.

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