Purge of Voter Rolls Put on Hold by Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Check Your Voter Registration Address
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals on February 28, 2020 reversed a lower court decision that had required the state Elections Commission to immediately remove more than 200,000 voters from voter registration rolls because they may have moved.
In the opinion, the appeals court said that the "plain language" of state law in question applies only to local election commissions, not the state commission. The ruling also removed fines that had been ordered by the lower court to be paid by the Elections Commission and some of its individual members.
The ruling likely means that no voters will be removed from the rolls prior to the April 7 election. Even so, the League of Women Voters recommends that voters who aren't sure should check their registration status at myvote.gov to see that they are listed at the correct address.
We'll keep you posted if there are new developments. The state's voter rolls are still going to be cleaned up at some point in the future, but for now the immediate purge of those who may have moved is on hold.
Background on the Purge of Voter Rolls Cases:
A Circuit Court judge in December, 2019 ordered the state to remove from voter registration rolls more than 200,000 voters who may have moved from the address listed as their voting address. The judge also denied a petition from the League of Women Voters-Wisconsin that LWVWI be allowed to intervene in the lawsuit.
The state Attorney General on behalf of the Wisconsin Elections Commission appealed and on January 14, 2020 the state Court of Appeals put the voter rolls purge on hold temporarily while the case was under review. Click here for a CBS news story on the appeals court decision. The state Supreme Court had earlier declined to take over the case pending Court of Appeals action.
On December 17, 2019, LWVWI sued in federal court to put a stop to the purge of voter names. The elections commission had planned on purging the rolls after the 2020 elections instead of immediately, as the judge ordered.
LWVWI and LWV-Milwaukee County advise people to check their voter registration address at myvote.wi.gov and change it to their current address if necessary.
Click here for a statement from LWVWI and links to more information on the lawsuit and steps you can take.
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about the court decision and appeals is here.
Proudly nonpartisan: LWVMC president's letter to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.