Pocan Statement on Voter ID Ruling from the State Appeals Court
MADISON, WI—U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02) today released the following statement after the 4th District Court of Appeals overturned a decision by the Dane County Circuit Court, which had originally ruled that the state’s Voter ID law violated the Wisconsin constitution.
Earlier this month, Pocan introduced legislation with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-05) to explicitly guarantee the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. The Pocan-Ellison Voting Rights Amendment would amend the Constitution to provide all Americans with the affirmative right to vote and empower the government with the authority to protect this fundamental right.
“In a country founded on the principles of civic participation, it is obscene that voters need to prove their fundamental right to vote has been violated, while states can pass restrictive voting bills without demonstrating any need for their actions,” Pocan said. “While I expect that today’s decision is not the last word on Wisconsin’s Voter ID law, it demonstrates that now more than ever, we need an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will ensure all Americans have a guaranteed, affirmative right to vote. My amendment will transfer the burden of proof from the voter back to the states—forcing them to demonstrate that their actions have a legitimate rationale beyond suppressing the vote for partisan gain. I will continue to fight for my Right to Vote amendment and to protect the voting rights of every voter in Wisconsin and across the nation.”
Under current law, it is up to the voter to prove that his or her right to vote has been infringed. The Pocan-Ellison amendment would place the burden of proof on the states to demonstrate that any efforts they take will not deny nor abridge the fundamental right to vote.
Already in 2013, more than 80 restrictive voting laws have been introduced in over 30 states across the country.