The fate of roughly 209,000 registered voters has taken another turn Tuesday, Jan. 14 after a panel of three judges in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals has issued a stay, effectively blocking an Ozaukee County circuit court judge’s ruling that held three members of the state’s Election Commission in contempt for failing to remove the voters from the state’s voter rolls.
According to a WISN report from Tuesday, the Appeals Court stay means that the case will slow down — so much so that the case will not likely be settled before the 2020 Presidential election in November.
On Monday, Ozaukee County judge Paul Malloy ruled that roughly 209,000 people must be removed from Wisconsin’s voter rolls, or three members of the Wisconsin Election Commission will be fined every day until they comply with the judge’s ruling. In his ruling, Malloy ruled that the commission will be fined $50 per day until it starts removing the roughly 209,000 voters off the rolls. Malloy is also fining commission members Ann Jacobs, Julie Glancey and Mark Thomsen $250 per day until they start doing the work.
Fierce supporters of keeping those voters on the Wisconsin rolls turned out in force at Monday’s hearing.
“We will not be intimidated as politically motivated judges and anti-democracy activists attempt to buy our rights with fines and penalties,” said Jennifer Barry, a Wisconsin voter and leader in the Fight for $15 and a Union. “It’s no secret that this voter purge would target Wisconsin’s communities of color and young voters — the very people who are most energized to turn out in 2020 and win change for our neighborhoods. We’ll continue to fight back in the courts, in the streets, and by organizing so every Wisconsinite is ready and registered to vote.”
Votes Loom Large In Wisconsin 2020 Battleground
Wisconsin as a battleground state in the 2020 election is a fact that has been well-established. President Donald Trump defeated Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes in 2016. That’s a razor-thin 0.7 percentage margin of victory.
Trump’s victory in Wisconsin in 2016 is understandably dwarfed by the number of people who are the subject of Wisconsin’s voter registration tussle.
Two sides have been fighting over the status of about 230,000 registered voters in the state. One side wants to purge these residents from the state’s voter rolls, saying they failed to update their address after moving – as required by state law. The other side filed a countersuit in federal court, saying an imminent purge violates their constitutional right to due process.
The commission will meet Tuesday to figure out their next move.
Am I On The List?
According to the Wisconsin Election Commission, residents can check whether they’re registered to vote, or whether they’ve been sent a “moving” letter on MyVote Wisconsin Click this link to go to MyVote Wisconsin. If state election officials sent you a letter because you may have moved, that will be noted on your voter information page on MyVote.
If you did not move, you can tell us you still have the same address. If you did move, you can reregister to vote on the MyVote website, assuming your address information is current with DMV. If it’s not current, you can update it with DMV and come back to MyVote and register online, election officials said.
Judge Ruled In Favor Of Suit, Opponents File Suit Of Their Own
In December, the same judge issued an order that requires the Wisconsin Election Commission to remove the aforementioned voter registrations on the basis of state law.
“The Wisconsin Election Commission was warned in October that they were acting contrary to state law by allowing voter registrations at old addresses to remain active beyond 30 days. Instead of reversing course, the Wisconsin Election Commission has stubbornly doubled down,”
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said, “This lawsuit is about accountability, the rule of law, and clean and fair elections.”
Later in December, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and two registered Wisconsin voters filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming the purge of nearly 230,000 registered voters violates the U.S. Constitution. You can view that lawsuit here.
In their lawsuit, the League alleges that letters sent by the Wisconsin Elections Commission did not provide enough notice of what voters needed to do to remain on the rolls.
The federal lawsuit asks a federal judge to stop Malloy’s order to immediately remove the registrations of 234,000 Wisconsin voters who may have moved, and require the Wisconsin Elections Commission to send new notices to the affected voters informing them of the commission’s plans to remove them from voter rolls.
According to an Associated Press report, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, and the Republican-controlled state legislature are pressuring the federal court to dismiss – or at least put on hold – the League of League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s lawsuit on the basis that the case in Ozaukee County is still ongoing.
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