It's on - It's off - It's halfway on - It's a quarter of the way on.  It's off again. Now it's back.

Honestly, who can keep up with this mess? (and yes, I really wanted to work in that Plan 9 poster because it's a film I love for its pure enthusiasm and ineptitude - it could be a symbol of the Walker administration). Just when we thought we might know the status of Voter ID for the big November election, we get yet another court decision that puts the voter ID law back into place again - well, almost. I'm really glad I don't have to edit the web site with Voter ID information. 

So - let's try to keep track.  Way back last month, Judge Lynn Adelman ruled that if a voter could not reasonably obtain a voter ID, said voter would be able to sign an affidavit to that effect and vote anyway. This was to allow voters to have a safety valve which would allow them to vote if the strict provisions of the law made it impossible to obtain ID. I won't go back through all the legal maneuvering that got us to that point because  really you  don't want to see all that sausage being made.

Today, we got yet another ruling - this time from a panel of the 7th District Court of Appeals in Chicago, which ruled that Adelman's ruling had gone too far - 

"Our  most  recent  decision  in  this  case  concluded  that  anyone  who  is  eligible  to  vote  in  Wisconsin,  but  cannot  obtain  a  qualifying  photo  ID  with  reasonable  effort,  is  entitled  to  an  accommodation  that  will  permit  him  or  her  to  cast  a  ballot," the unanimous panel wrote. "But  instead  of  attempting  to  identify  these  voters,  or  to  identify  the  kinds  of  situations  in  which  the  state’s  procedures  fall  short,  the  district  court  issued  an  injunction  that  permits  any  registered  voter  to  declare  by  affidavit  that  reasonable  effort  would  not  produce  a  photo  ID — even  if  the  voter  has  never  tried  to  secure  one.

"Because  the  district  court  has  not  attempted  to  distinguish  genuine  difficulties  of  the  kind  our  opinion  mentioned, or  any  other  variety  of  substantial  obstacle  to  voting,  from  any  given  voter’s  unwillingness  to  make  the  effort  that  the  Supreme  Court  has  held  that  a  state  can  require,  there  is  a  substantial  likelihood  that  the  injunction  will  be  reversed  on  appeal."

We seem here to have dueling courts - not that this is any huge surprise, but clearly some judges seem to hold for an absolute right to vote while others are holding to a more strict ruling of "protecting us from voter fraud". Interestingly a lot of this seems to depend on which of the two major parties you support. 

I'm not at all sure we are done here, and I would not be surprised if this (or the other  load of litigation about this law) eventually ended up in the Supreme Court.  Which reminds me that there are upcoming big elections both for  a President who will nominate Supreme Court members, and the Senate, which approves them. The November election is critically important to who ends up on the Supreme and other courts in the country. The Republican Party looks increasingly vulnerable due to their support of Donald Trump, and it's entirely possible we may see a Democratic president AND Senate. Perhaps then we can see a slowdown of this spate of laws intended only to suppress the vote and punish the poor.