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Voter ID law ruled unconstitutional

Saying voter fraud is "no more poisonous to our democracy than voter suppression," a Dane County judge today issued a permanent injunction against Wisconsin's voter identification law.

The order from Judge Richard Niess comes less than a week after another Dane County judge issued a temporary injunction against the law, which would have required people to show a photo ID before being allowed to vote.

Niess declared the new law is unconstitutional because it would abridge the right to vote.

According to his ruling, "as a matter of law under the Wisconsin Constitution, sacrificing a qualified elector's right to vote is not a reasonable exercise of the government's prerogative to regulate elections."

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit last fall to block the law.

In an email statement sent out this afternoon, League President Melanie Ramey applauded Judge Niess' decision.

"Voting is not like cashing a check or getting on an airplane. Those activities are not protected by the constitution," said Ramey. "Voting is one way in which all citizens are equal, and that is worth fighting for.

"Proponents of voter ID still can't point to one case of voter impersonation in our state, and that is the only kind of illegal voting an ID law could prevent."

Fifteen states have voter ID laws in place, and 31 others are working on such guidelines for elections.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said his office will appeal Niess' decision.