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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Law - 7th Circuit hears Indiana voter ID case tomorrow

Updating yesterday's ILB entry, which covered the Missouri Supreme Court decision striking down their voter ID law and noted that Wednesday would be the oral arguments in Chicago, before the 7th Circuit, in the appeal of Federal District Judge Sarah Evans Barker's decision upholding Indiana's voter ID law, this afternoon Mike Smith of the AP has coverage on the eve of the arguments. Some quotes:

Democrats planned to urge a federal appeals court on Wednesday to overturn a state law requiring people to show photo identification issued by the state or federal government to cast regular ballots at the polls.

The state attorney general's office will ask a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to uphold the law, which a federal judge decided in April could stand because Democrats failed to prove that it was too burdensome.

The Indiana Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against the law last year after the Republican-controlled Legislature approved legislation requiring most voters to show government-issued photo IDs before casting a ballot.

Democrats claim that the law unfairly affects the poor, minorities, people with disabilities and the elderly who may struggle to obtain a photo ID. Democrats said earlier that nearly 1 million registered voters in the state did not possess a required ID.

Republicans and the office of Secretary of State Todd Rokita - the defendant named in the suit - say the law is designed to prevent voter fraud.

Oral arguments before the appeals court are set for Wednesday morning in Chicago, with Indianapolis attorney William Groth arguing for the Democrats and Thomas Fisher with the Indiana attorney general's office representing the state. * * *

Some other states' voter identification laws have been challenged in court this year:

_ The Missouri Supreme Court on Monday struck down that state's new law requiring voters to show government-issued photo IDs, saying it was an unconstitutional infringement on the right to vote.

_ The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this month blocked enforcement of Arizona's voter ID law.

_ A Georgia judge in September said the latest version of that state's photo ID requirement was unconstitutional.

Rokita said Tuesday that although Missouri's law was similar to Indiana's, that case and the one in Georgia have been handled by state courts. And although the law in Arizona was struck down by a federal appeals court, he said that law also involved immigration issues.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 17, 2006 06:43 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions