For the first time, a photo ID law is struck down under section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Here’s why that matters.

Very big news out of a federal court in Wisconsin, where the state’s polling place Photo ID law (Act 23) has now been struck down as both a violation of the federal Constitutional as well as under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

While similar laws, all enacted by Republicans, have been struck down by state courts before — indeed, Wisconsin’s, was already found in violation of the state constitution in state court — and in federal courts under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, today’s ruling is the first to strike down such a law under Section 2 of the VRA.

The judge found that Wisconsin’s ID law overwhelmingly impacted lower-income voters and that “Blacks and Latinos in Wisconsin are disproportionately likely to live in poverty…. The reason Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately likely to live in poverty, and therefore to lack a qualifying ID, is because they have suffered from, and continue to suffer from, the effects of discrimination.”

The landmark ruling will almost certainly have national implications for federal challenges in other states against similar restrictions recently enacted by Republicans.