The court also ruled that plaintiffs had not shown that the requirement presents an "additional qualification" for voting -- which they had argued violated Article III of the state's constitution -- and that the Legislature had not exceeded its authority by passing the law, saying it has "implicit but broad constitutional authority to establish a voting registration system."ADDED: Here's what I said about the state constitutional law argument at the time of the trial level decision (boldface added):
[This argument] is nothing like the arguments against voter ID laws based on the U.S. Constitution that you may be familiar with. It's about the "Suffrage" section of the state constitution that declares a big group of residents to be qualified electors, then gives the legislature the power to pare away from that group (in 2 specific categories, convicted felons and incompetent persons). To agree with the judge, I think you need to see a person without an ID as a type of person who is being excluded from the right to vote (and not within one of those 2 categories, so not within the legislature's power to exclude)....AND: From today's opinion (boldface added):
I don't think a person without an ID is being disqualified from voting the way, say, convicted felons are disqualified.
There's just a step in the process that hasn't been completed. To say not presenting an ID is excluding you from the category of people permitted to vote seems like saying people who don't go to the polls when the polls are open are being excluded. It would be strange to say closing the polls at 8 is creating a new category of disqualified voters — those people who do not arrive before 8.
We are not persuaded that the photo identification requirement here is, on its face, more like a categorical bar to certain classes of potential voters, held to be a “qualification” under Knowlton, than it is like a number of voting procedures, including registration requirements, which indisputably would pass muster under Knowlton or any other authority the League cites.
The League argues that Knowlton stands for a test “that looks to the law’s effect of disqualifying a qualified elector.” However, under the League’s proposed test, at least as stated, virtually any requirement placed on voters would be an unconstitutional and impermissible additional “qualification,” again contrary to the League’s concessions stated elsewhere in its briefing. For example, under the League’s proposed test the requirement that voters must be in line at the polling place by 8:00 p.m. on election day would be unconstitutional because it has the effect of “disqualifying,” in the League’s terms, any person, no matter how qualified and registered to vote, who arrives at 8:01 p.m. See Wis. Stat. § 6.78 (regulating poll hours). As the state officials argue, any such argument was foreclosed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court long ago under the authority cited above. For these same reasons, we disagree that the circuit court in this case correctly articulated any constitutional rule that supports its conclusion, on this record, that the photo identification requirement is a “qualification” that “masquerade[s]” as “an election regulation requirement.”