TRIAL REPORT — NAACP PHOTO ID TRIAL CLOSES TODAY ON HIGH NOTE.
By Richard Saks, Esq.
Hawks, Quindel, SC
April 19, 2012
Our four-day trial before Judge Flanagan in the Dane County courthouse ended today in the NAACP/Voces lawsuit against Wisconsinís photo ID requirement. I can report we made a detailed evidentiary presentation to the court that approximately 335,000 voting-eligible persons in the state of Wisconsin lack acceptable Photo ID under the law. Despite a desperate attempt by the Attorney Generalís office to besmirch the intentions of our individual plaintiffs and voters who submitted affidavits in support of the lawsuit, 34 affidavits and 18 deposition transcripts of voters were admitted into evidence, which detailed the burdens and costs faced by ordinary voters attempting to comply with the law.
The case opened on Monday morning with an engaging 50-minute video deposition of 83-year-old Ruth Frank of Brokaw Wisconsin, who explained in detail the bureaucratic quagmire she encountered when attempting to correct her birth certificate to obtain a photo ID to vote.
Our expert witness, Prof. Ken Mayer, testified at length on three of the four days about Wisconsinís history of access and expanded voting rights, and how photo ID serves no deterrent purpose to vote fraud. Prof. Mayer also testified about the database match he conducted between the GABís vote file and DOT database, where he estimated that over 300,000 voters lack a Wisconsin driverís license or photo ID. Professor Mayer concluded that approximately 335,000 voting-eligible persons lack any of the Act 23 acceptable photo IDs.
Prof. Mayer testified again at length this morning to rebut the absurd claims of two of the stateís expert witnesses who testified that there are virtually no known persons in Wisconsin who lack a photo ID. Prof. Mayer outlined in convincing detail the scientific method he used to identify voters across the state lacking photo ID. The Attorney General attempted to discredit Prof. Mayer, but in closing the trial, Judge Flanagan dismissed any effort to impugn Prof. Mayerís expert credentials, finding that he provided a very sound, well-reasoned, and factually-based analysis of the actual extent to which Wisconsin voters lack photo ID.
The Judge has left the temporary injunction in place, and asked the parties to file written briefs, which we shall of course do. I am confident that our legal arguments are now supported by a strong factual record. The briefing will not be concluded until mid-June and Judge Flanaganís final decision on making our injunction permanent will be made by Judge Flanagan soon after that. The Attorney General provided little reason — apart from attacks on ordinary citizens Ė as to why Judge Flanagan ought to change his view that photo ID is a severe burden on a substantial group of voters. I believe and feel that our presentation was convincing, and that it provided the court with a very solid evidentiary record which will be defensible in the Court of Appeals and before the Supreme Court.
NAACP Milwaukee Branch, Voces de la Frontera, and other supporters attended throughout the proceedings, and their presence was important for the judge to see that people were concerned about the voting rights of Wisconsin residents.
Many of you have provided all kinds of important support for this case, and we thank you for it.
My partners, Michele Sumara and Jeff Sweetland, served as co-counsel in preparing this case and throughout the trial proceedings. Their commitment, experience, and legal expertise were absolutely indispensable in the case presentation. Together, we beat back virtually all the incessant evidentiary and procedural obstacles raised by the Attorney Generalís office to exclude our evidence and impugn the character and truth of ordinary Wisconsin voters.
Two SEIU Law Fellows, Ryan Griffin and Larell Purdie, assisted us in the legal and technical preparation of the case, and their assistance, expertise and counsel throughout the trial were also simply terrific.
Thanks to all for all your support throughout this fight, and I will keep you posted on future developments. Feel free to share this message with other supporters of our effort.
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