On November 4, the Advancement Project, a multicultural civil rights organization, will team with pro bono legal counsel Arnold & Porter to challenge Wisconsin’s voter ID law for the first time in court since the controversial measure went into effect in 2011.
Hearing the case will be U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, and looming heavily is the controversial Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the preclearance protections of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
“As the leading democracy of the world, the U.S. should work to keep our voting system free, fair, and accessible to all Americans,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair. “Yet we are witnessing the greatest assault on voting rights in decades.”
From Advancement Project’s press release regarding the impending court case, the group alleges that Wisconsin is blatantly disenfranchising voters.
According to figures provided by the Advancement Project, a staggering 28,000 African-Americans and 12,000 Hispanic voters nationwide do not posses a driver’s license or state-issued ID. Those numbers show 16 percent are African-Americans and 24.8 percent are Hispanics; the disparity is especially troubling when comparing those percentage numbers to just 9.5 percent Whites who lack identification.
NewsOne reached out to Advance Project co-director Judith Browne-Dianis, who expressed a similar sentiment as her college.
“Wisconsin’s photo ID law is among the strictest in the country,” said Browne Dianis. “If the law is allowed to go back into effect, it stands to turn back the clock on Wisconsin’s historically strong protection of voting rights and prevent hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin voters from casting their ballot.”
Browne-Dianis added, “The impact is especially devastating for voters of color, who are significantly less likely than white voters to have government-issued photo ID. Between the time needed to get ID, and traveling to limited DMV offices with no weekend hours in the state, they are also more likely to have difficulty obtaining it. Advancement Project’s lawsuit, challenging Wisconsin’s voter ID law based on its racially discriminatory impact, is about ensuring equal access to the ballot box for all people.”