Judge signals he’ll keep voter ID in place

Voter ID

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Latest on the legal fight over alternatives to obtaining photo IDs to vote in Wisconsin (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

A federal judge says he almost certainly won’t block Wisconsin’s voter photo ID law amid allegations that state Division of Motor Vehicles employees are giving out inaccurate information about alternative voting credentials but the state must do more to let people know about the alternative process.

Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Institute asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson to block the law after media reports showed DMV workers gave out wrong information on the credentials. Peterson said Wednesday after a hearing on the request that he’s more than reluctant to block the law, saying he’s not sure he has the authority since a federal appellate court has upheld the law. But he said wants the state to come up with a better public outreach program so credential applicants know exactly how the process works. He ordered state attorneys and OWI lawyers to reconvene Thursday morning and hammer out a plan.

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4:15 p.m.

A Wisconsin Department of Transportation official says none of the undercover state troopers she sent out to see if they could get voting credentials in lieu of photo identification were black or Hispanic, the races of most applicants.

Division of Motor Vehicles Administrator Kristina Boardman testified during a hearing Wednesday on whether a federal judge should block Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Institute has asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson to enjoin the law amid allegations DMV workers have been giving out inaccurate information on alternative voting credentials.

State attorneys say undercover state troopers visited DMV stations and entered the credential process the process without any problem. Boardman testified that she set up the operation.

OWI attorney Charles Curtis asked if any of the troopers were black or Hispanic. When Boardman said no, Curtis pointed out people of those races make up two-thirds of credential applicants.

Boardman said the point was to check process.

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9:55 a.m.

A federal judge is ripping the state for not training Division of Motor Vehicle workers to provide people with alternative credentials for voting in lieu of photo identification.

State Transportation Department regulations allow people who lack documentation needed for free photo IDs to obtain alternative voting credentials within six days from field stations. Media reports show field workers have given people inaccurate information about how to obtain the credentials.

One Wisconsin Institute has asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson to block the voter ID law amid the reports. State attorneys have countered DOT has since stepped up training.

Peterson told state attorneys during a hearing Wednesday that he’s disturbed that the upgraded training began only after OWI filed its request. He says the state has undertaken only minimal efforts unless compelled by litigation.

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9:25 a.m.

A federal judge is criticizing the state for not telling people clearly how they can obtain voting credentials if they lack documents to obtain photo ID.

One Wisconsin Institute wants U.S. District Judge James Peterson to block Wisconsin’s voter ID law after media reports showed Division of Motor Vehicles workers have given inaccurate information to people looking to obtain alternative voting credentials without presenting birth certificates to get free photo IDs.

Peterson began a hearing Wednesday by saying the state clearly has fallen short of its obligations to administer the credentials and the chances of getting misinformation are very high.

Peterson questioned whether he has the authority to block the voter ID law, though, noting the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the law.

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4:30 a.m.

A federal judge is set to consider a liberal group’s demand to block Wisconsin’s voter ID law in the wake of a media report that state workers gave people inaccurate information about an alternative voting credential.

State Department of Transportation regulations call for giving people who apply for ID cards but lack supporting identifying documents receipts for voting. The DOT is supposed to mail the receipts within six days of an application.

The Nation reported last month that workers at DOT field stations gave out inaccurate information about how to obtain the receipts.

The report has driven liberal group One Wisconsin Institute to asked U.S. District Judge James Peterson to block the entire voter ID law. Peterson was set to hold a hearing on the request Wednesday.

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