Wisconsin Voter ID Law for College Students Upheld

U.S. District Judge James Peterson this week upheld Wisconsin’s voter identification rules for college students. Common Cause and other groups challenged the requirement that student IDs display the student’s signature, an issuance date, and an expiration date. Peterson found that such rules were rationally related to the purpose of combatting voter fraud.

In order to pass constitutional muster, § 5.02(6m)(f) had to be found to be rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest. Peterson found that it does despite noting that ‘[i]f the question were whether the requirements at issue were likely to advance an important state interest, the court might well conclude that they don’t. But that isn’t the standard.”

The Seventh Circuit previously ruled on the student ID question, though in a different legal framework. In Luft v. Evers, 963 F.3d 665 (7th Cir. 2020), the court considered a variety of challenges to Wisconsin voting regulations, including one part of § 5.02(6m)(f). The court of appeals considered the question under an Equal Protection Clause (rather than the Anderson-Burdick framework of the most recent case).

While finding that requiring IDs to be current served a legitimate purpose, the court balked at the fact that “a student ID card, alone among the sorts of photo ID that Wisconsin accepts, is not sufficient for voting unless the student also shows proof of current enrollment.” This led to confusion and the defendants moved for clarification. The Seventh Circuit then stated:

“Our opinion holds that the state may not require student IDs to be unexpired, when the student provides some other document demonstrating current enrollment. The point of our decision is that requiring two documents from students, but not other voters, needs justification, which has not been supplied. But a student who appears at the polls with an expired student ID card, and without proof of current enrollment, need not be allowed to vote.”

In this latest decision, Peterson noted that there was a rational basis for concern over student ID cards:

“Common Cause Wisconsin says that the requirements for student IDs are irrational because ‘most common forms of photo identification are accepted as voter IDs exactly as issued by the state, federal, or tribal government which issues the ID.’ … But that is exactly the point. The content of nearly all of the other voter IDs is regulated by another state or federal statute, making them more recognizable and uniform, and potentially making them harder to fake. That’s not the case for student IDs. Common Cause doesn’t identify any uniform standards that Wisconsin colleges and universities have adopted, which other courts have found to be a reason to treat student IDs differently.”

Jon Sherman, senior counsel for the Fair Elections Center, responded to the ruling by again calling the college ID requirements “absurd.” He added that “unlike the forces that continue to relentlessly assault our democracy and the right to vote, we have immense respect for the rule of law, the Court, and its consideration of our claims.”

Peterson is not easily dismissed as some anti-Democratic jurist. He is an Obama appointee who previously struck down voter limitations, including limitations on early voting in 2016.

Here is the decision: Common Cause v. Thomson


73 thoughts on “Wisconsin Voter ID Law for College Students Upheld”

  1. If I’m driving a car and I am pulled over by the police, I am expected, among other documents, to have a valid driver’s license. The license has my picture, name and address, issue date and expiration date. What is so freakin’ hard about that?

    1. So you’re saying that the police should randomly stop more black drivers? Don’t you know that DWB is already an epidemic?


  2. That Other Voting Story:

    Liz Cheny Reads Sampling Of Texts Sent To Mark Meadows On January 6

    Some of the most dramatic evidence presented (to the January 6 Committee) Monday night involved texts from allies of the president urging Meadows to get Trump to stop the rioters.

    Panel member Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) read through texts to Mark Meadows from Fox News hosts as well as Trump’s own son, Donald Trump Jr., imploring Meadows to get his father to “condemn this {sh!t} Asap. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough.”

    “I’m pushing it hard,” Meadows responded. “I agree.”

    “We need an Oval address,” Trump Jr. wrote back. “He has to lead now. It has gone too far and gotten out of hand.”

    Several Fox News hosts also urged Meadows to get Trump on TV or make some kind of statement while he remained silent in the White House as members of the mob assaulted police officers and menaced members of Congress.

    “Hey Mark, the president needs to tell people in the Capitol to go home … this is hurting all of us … he is destroying his legacy,” wrote Laura Ingraham.

    Brian Kilmeade also chimed in. “Please get him on tv,” he texted Meadows. “Destroying everything you have accomplished.” Brian Kilmeade wrote.

    And Trump friend and popular Fox News host Sean Hannity simply asked Meadows: “Can he make a statement? … Ask people to leave the Capitol.”

    Edited from: “House Jan. 6 Committee Votes To Hold Meadows In Contempt, Details Texts From Trump Allies

    The Washington Post, 12/13/21

    This story has been widely covered today. It seems that Mark Meadows turned over hundreds of documents to the committee ‘before’ he decided not to testify. But these texts are consequential. They indicate that prominent Trump allies were seriously worried about the Capitol riots. Yet some of these same people had promoted Trump’s election lies.

    The sum of these texts raise the most obvious of questions: ‘What was Donald Trump doing as these texts kept coming to Mark Meadows?’

    One can bet Mark Meadows declined to testify because he would rather not answer that question before the committee. No one in Washington believes Donald Trump was simply too busy with other matters to take a briefing on the riots. To the contrary, almost everyone suspects that Trump was watching live TV coverage of the riots that afternoon. That truth will invariably come out. And when it does, Trump’s chances of being president again are greatly diminished.

    1. LOL. What “truth” are you expecting?

      If the real truth invariably comes out, and hopefully it will, then Trump’s chances of being president again are 100%. The only question is will it be immediate or will he have to wait until 2024?

    2. Liz Cheny Reads Sampling Of Texts Sent To Mark Meadows On January

      The Democrat Committee. Claiming their investigation is nothing but information gathering to be better able to write legislation concerning???? Well, nobody has a clue exactly what legislation would preempt the constitutional right to free speech. Of course Congress is not empowered to investigate crimes. That power is out side their enumerated Article One powers

      Which is why the partisan committee is selectively releasing to the public a tiny sliver of the 100’s of thousands of documents they have amassed. Because the release of carefully selected information that they consider politically damaging information is the true reason for the existence of the partisan committee. The collection of politically damaging political fodder.

      Like anybody thought differently.

    3. And when it does, Trump’s chances of being president again are greatly diminished.

      President Trump’s chances of being President elect in 3 years are greater than Biden’s chances of recognizing his own kids 3 years from now. But that’s the very best Democrats have to offer.

    4. Good lord, you people are delusional.

      Those texts prove two things: 1) That the writers said the same thing in private that they said in public — the riot (all riots) was wrong. 2) That they did not conspire to start an “insurrection” or riot.

      What’s conveniently ignored in this entire discussion is the deployment of the National Guard. Trump, and others in the administration, had already called for their deployment. *Pelosi* refused that request. Why? (She controlled the CHP.)

  3. People mature at different ages. When my grandson was 18 he looked like he was 15. If he showed up at an election sight how would they know if he was old enough to vote unless he could display documentation to prove his age? The Democrats are allowing the voting of illegal immigrants in New York and California. If you think that they are not trying to increase their voting base by allowing illegals to vote you just fell of the turnip truck. Then again, the hayseeds are not all on the right.

  4. Again and again the Democratic Party and all its minions never cease to amaze. How can a political party continually usurp our foundational documents and tell us that it’s for our best interests?

    Voting rights are a prime example of their flippant quest even at the lowest level of requiring valid ID to register and vote. Pulling from the Fourteenth Amendment “…No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;…”. The Democratic Party is abridging (to reduce in scope) our privilege (a right or benefit that is given to some and not others) of secure voting. They are also usurping our immunities (special protection from what is required for most people by law) of secure voting rights (one man/woman (CITIZEN) one vote).

  5. Looking at recent polling data, an overwhelming majority of Americans support requiring voter IDs. It would obviously suggest this majority believes it is important that voters are being positively identified when casting their ballot. This would also suggest this majority believes the franchise needs layers of security to prevent fraud. I don’t believe for a moment the average voter has any intent on committing voter fraud. However, I do believe there exists an ongoing threat to the integrity of our electoral process and that threat comes from those given power as a result of the elections. The claims of disenfranchisement due to voter ID laws are not intended to solve a problem of getting ID’s. They are intended to drive a wedge along “political” lines, “class” lines, “race” lines. Show me a politician ranting about making voting “easier” for the underprivileged by removing “obstacles” to voting and I’ll show you a politician that has no interest in helping the underprivileged and election integrity.

  6. Colleges and universities are notoriously far Left. They could conceivably have no supporting documentation whatsoever to prove citizenship before issuing a student ID. Therefor, a student ID is not equivalent in identification value as a state- or federally regulated ID.

    If any organization wants student IDs to be considered equivalent to state or federal ID, then that would require student IDs to be state or federally regulated. Which would be fine by me. Why not require certain supporting documentation in order to issue a student ID? It could have a place for citizen or resident.

  7. Jonathan: GOP controlled states are working overtime to prevent people from exercising the franchise–particularly Democrats. It’s called “voter suppression”. In Wisconsin GOP politicians still believe in Trump’s false claims of “massive voter fraud” in 2020. The GOP is specifically targeting out-of-state college students to suppress their vote. Why? 60% of Wisconsin students identify as “Democratic”. In 2018 Gov. Scott Walker lost the election by less than 1%. In 2016 Trump won the state by only 23,000 votes. So student votes can make a huge difference in close elections. That’s why the GOP is making students jump through additional hoops to vote. Doesn’t make “rational” sense despite Judge Peterson’s ruling. No doubt Common Cause will appeal. But it’s clear where you come down on the student franchise. How do you justify your position to your law law students when they ask you why you oppose a student’s right to vote?

    1. Suppose you offer factual proof of how anyone, “particularly Democrats,” are being prevented from voting. Quite the contrary: Democrat-controlled Offices of Elections are failing to ensure that only people eligible to vote are permitted to do so.

      1. The proof is very easy to find with 10s of Googling. Go find it yourself. You would not believe any proof he posts anyhow.

          1. Because disenfranchisement is a serious issue and you care about getting accurate information????

          2. MistressAdams,

            I suppose you support and endorse forensic audits of all fifty state’s election results for 2020….so as to prove there were no problems….but if there are problems found…..you would support effective measures to cure them to include criminal prosecution of anyone having committed a violation of the various State’s Election Laws…..right?

            A Board of Elections, at any level…precicinct to State….that resists or refuses such audits and basically says….”Our election was flawless!” should be believed merely upon their assertion of fact?

            Surely, you do not think there are no problems anywhere…ever….in our Elections!

        1. I can’t understand how obtaining ID is so onerous when it is required for some of the most basic activities day to day. For the most part this is a basic requirement the world over to go to the polls.

        2. Making it harder to vote, how? By proving one is actually eligible to vote by producing proof of citizenship or that one meets a given jurisdiction’s eligibility requirements? It has nothing to do with winning, and everything to do with protecting privileges of citizenship. I’m familiar with the Brennan Center’s work – pity they aren’t as exercised about the “gerrymandering” in Virginia. Try again.

          1. If the dims had their way, the only reason you would want to be a citizen is so you can pay the bills.

        3. OK mistressadams,

          I once again follow the link…once again the link is nothing but wailing and hand wringing. No facts, no details, not a single example of anything that restricts voting.

          Why is it impossible for proponents to give simple examples to support their accusations?

  8. Hold the phone here…..let’s compare a student ID to a State issues Drivers License/Non Driver License ID Card…the DL I have to pay for….the ID Only Card is free. If I have a “Real ID Drivers License” then I jumped through additional hoops to prove who I am.

    If I change my residence for any reason…I have to report that to my DMV and get a new DL…which I have to pay for.

    If I do not do that….my DL is invalid…..and no longer usable to drive a motor vehicle. If I do not sign the DL….it is invalid.

    Now if a College Student shows up at the Polls with an expired Student ID card which does not require the Student sign the Card…..just why are they thinking that is a valid ID card even for use at the Student Union or Library much less to vote.

    Now lets assume that Student is not even a US Citizen….and actually lives in an adjoining State but shows up to vote…..and offers a Student ID card…..currrent or expired…..does that Student get to vote?

    To me the concept is simple….if your ID is not current or is invalid for any reason….it is useless in determining your ability to vote….as it is invalid, out of date, expired, bogus, or just plain junk…..that goes for every other approved form of ID.

    Show up with an approved and current ID…one which meets every requirement both for the ID itself and as approved ID per the Election Law.

    Mexico requires Voter ID as does India and other Nations…..why should we not?

  9. Why is it that in some stores, I at 65, have to produce my Wisconsin State Drivers License and it must be scanned in order to purchase a bottle of wine, some of which I will consume with my supper, but it is too much of a bother to ask someone to prove their identity in order to vote?

    These same students have to show I.D. in order to get into any bar on campus. Is that discrimination?

    Or, is it elder abuse to make me show an I.D. in order to purchase a bottle of wine when I have more white hair than all the young store clerks combined?

    1. In some states the student ID is produced by the state and one must show all ID, “birth, address, etc” yet they cannot use THAT state ID for voting.

      1. And since most students don’t drive, they have no picture ID unless they go and get one from their DMV or SOS. And they must show the same ID that got them a student ID, that they can’t use to vote.

        1. And since most students don’t drive… — FishWings

          LOL… please, you made me spit my coffee out laughing. Got any proof that statement is accurate?

  10. Virtually every other democracy in the world requires voter ID, including those in and out of Europe. India especially. You should read how the voter ID is imposed in a democracy of nearly 1.4 billion people. I started voting at 18 in Georgia in 1966 (before the constitutional amendment made it the nationwide age) I have since voted in 4 different states when residing there, absentee once but usually in person. In each case it was incredibly easy to provide a valid voter id, if you were a valid voter. The recent vote to allow 800,000 non citizens to vote in NYC and other jurisdictions, virtually all in Democratic controlled areas, plainly shows an attempt by the Democratic Party to disenfranchise citizen voters. When there is a drive to pack the Supreme Court, and rid the nation of a troublesome requirement to be a citizen to vote, one has to wonder why the democrats will throw away all rules in a relentless drive for unfettered power. It’s the old saw about 1 man, 1 vote, 1 time! Once we have the result we desire why trouble ourselves anymore with elections at all? Right? It’s the only thing to do for proper thinking Americans(sic). Oh, one last thought, we are not a pluralistic democracy, we are a constitutional republic of sovereign states. Many of the readers seem to forget that not so minor fact.

        1. But where’s the office? What are its hours of operation? How do I get there, and back home?

          What if on the way there, I’m stopped by the police — because DWB? What if there are security officers at the office, and they shoot me — you know, just because.

          I think you’re ignoring the realities of being black in America.

          /sarc (in case it’s not obvious)

      1. “Red states in the US make it hard.” Really? The new Georgia voting law supported by Republicans makes it very easy to get an ID. The state will issue one for free if you have no other source. The voting argument boils down to this: Democrats are so desperate for votes that they want to throw out any form of voting standards, just as they have thrown out student admissions standards and are trying to disgard standards for being a voting citizen. This is part of their larger “globalization” project. So every law to assure election integrity is now termed “voter suppression” by the left. More word games that their delusional base buys hook, line and sinker.

    1. Imagine this…..they are!

      In my State….I have to get a Purchase Permit for a Handgun…done by the County Sheriff’s Office….for each handgun…..and I cannot give my Son one for his use as an Off Duty Police Officer unless I make him provide me his own Purchase Permit.

      I would happily see the same standard of proof of Identity AND eligibility to vote be applied to Elections.

      How many convicted Felons vote and get away with it?

      1. I get your point, but honestly that sounds rather crazy. I can’t imagine needing a permit to purchase a weapon and I certainly wouldn’t tolerate some sort of permanent government record of what I own.

    2. Michael Ejercito — In my state, they are. Also, you can’t even open a bank account, get a library card, or buy a bottle of wine without an ID. This opposition to IDs is another attempt by Democrats to eliminate all standards. They like to think it’s just about “justice” and “inclusivity,” but it’s really about their votes and the fact that they’re hemorrhaging Independents and minority voters.

      1. Exactly. It seems like Democrats consider anything more burdensome that either walking into any random poll and saying “I wanna vote” or scrawling “Straight Dem” on a restaurant napkin and sending it in to be “voter suppression”.

        In the past at least even the dead who voted in places like Chicago and Philadelphia were at least backed by some amount of documentation.

    3. Mikey-You must live in Afghanistan or in the Chicago hood. You can’t purchase a firearm in the US without ID.

  11. Student IDs rarely have signatures. So unless universities change their IDs and reissue them, they can not be used. Signatures are not needed for any reason other then to make them unusable. This is clear voter suppression.

    1. You’ve made an exhaustive study of whether student IDs require signatures, eh? In any case, the ruling makes clear it is the status of the person producing the ID that’s at issue. If one is no longer a student, one should not be using a student ID as proof of identity – signed or not.

  12. ID is needed.

    To match the name to the name on the voter roll

    But also to prove residence in the proper voting precinct.

    Allowing Student ID’s fails the 2cnd requirement

    How about Work ID’s are the courts going to allow those also?

      1. Or one can use your Texas hunting permit. But not a picture ID from the state of Texas for colleges.

      2. “Passports are valid ID and don’t have addresses or signatures” — passports do have signatures.

  13. I dont think valid student ID’s should suffice as proof of citizenship for voting , since there are over one million foriegn students in U.S. colleges at this point and they all have valid student ID’s.

    1. Personally I think any form of valid ID should clearly state whether or not a person is eligible to vote.

  14. The Left Wing Social Justice Democratic Groups don’t want rules for they can’t win unless they cheat the system. By upholding ID’s the voter has to present a real ID. Therefore, the DEM’s and their Left-wing Social Justice groups hate it for they can’t stuff the ballot box or limit their voter cheating. The best part of this it was an Obama Judge who ruled.

    1. It’s amazing. We can see how the Republicans cheat and threaten in order to disenfranchise millions but hey they are Republicans so it’s ok! Insurrection…..fine as long as you love Trump. Don’t you guys ever stop?

      1. Justice Holmes

        Don’t you people ever stop talking about Trump?

        Focus on the present and the future, not the past.

        1. monumentcolorado, Justice Holmes has Trump in his head and he can’t get him out.

      2. in what way is this college id law an attempt to disenfranchise voters? you are just repeating nonsensical Democratic Party talking points

      3. Holmes
        Ive been asking for specific examples of voting restrictions, and get exactly zero examples, in return.
        Proof that your post is a dishonest talking points.

      4. I’ve come to the conclusion Justice Holmes is likely a paid troll. The talking points are the giveaway. They and a couple of the others only pop up at times that seem a little too opportune. On this, of all sites, they are not fooling or convincing anyone.

      5. Who are they cheating? There are many ways legitimate voters can obtain IDs. It seems to me hey are only concerned about stopping cheating. Also, who are they threatening? And what is the threat you are referring to? Sorry, but unless you can be specific, your claims about Republicans make no sense to me.

      6. Justice Holmes — So requiring a valid ID to vote is “cheating and threatening to disenfranchise millions”? That kind of delusional hyperbole is why Democrats are fast losing any credibility with the Independent voter.

Comments are closed.