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Federal Appeals Court Reinstates Wisconsin Voter ID Law For November

Hours after hearing arguments on the issue, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that Wisconsin officials "may ... enforce the photo ID requirement" for the upcoming elections.

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WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court Friday afternoon reinstated a Wisconsin law requiring photo identification to vote at this November's election.

Just hours after hearing arguments from lawyers, a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals effectively reversed, in part, a trial court ruling that found the law unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

As to the photo ID requirement, which was before Judges Frank Easterbrook, Diane Sykes, and John Daniel Tinder on Friday, the court ruled:

Having read the briefs and heard oral argument, this court now stays the injunction issued by the district court. The State of Wisconsin may, if it wishes (and if it is appropriate under rules of state law), enforce the photo ID requirement in this November's elections.

Although the court noted that this only is a ruling as to whether the requirement can be implemented for this election — noting that "an opinion on the merits will issue in due course" — it clearly signals the court's likelihood to reverse the trial court decision when it does so.

"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," Friday's order stated.

It was not immediately clear whether the plaintiffs would try and appeal the decision as to this election to the Supreme Court, but Wisconsin officials almost immediately declared that, for their part, they will be enforcing the photo ID requirement in November's elections (absent a further court ruling stopping enforcement):

.@Wisconsin_GAB: We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November General Election. #news3

Jessica Arp@news3jessica

.@Wisconsin_GAB: We are taking every step to fully implement the voter photo ID law for the November General Election. #news3

5:28 PM - 12 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Chris Geidner is the legal editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC. In 2014, Geidner won the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association award for journalist of the year.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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