Politics

Wisconsin judge orders 234,000 names tossed from registration rolls ahead of 2020 election

A state judge in Wisconsin on Friday ordered officials to toss out 234,000 names on voter registration rolls because they may have moved.

The judge sided with three voters who were represented by a conservative law firm that argued state elections commission officials should have deactivated the names immediately, under state law, after they failed to respond to an October mailing within 30 days.

Those voters were flagged as potentially having moved.




Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy denied a request by elections commission attorneys to put his decision on hold.

As such, he ordered the state Elections Commission to follow the law requiring voters who didn’t respond to be deactivated.

“I can’t tell them how to do that, they’re going to have to figure that out,” Malloy said of the commission in deactivating the voters.

Commission spokesman Reid Magney said in an email to The Associated Press that staffers will examine the judge’s decision and consult with commission members on next steps, but he did not elaborate.

It’s possible that Malloy’s ruling will be appealed. That means it’ll ultimately go to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is controlled 5-2 by conservatives.



The suit was filed by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), which alleged that the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) broke the law when deciding in June to grant a two-year grace period before deactivating voters who may have moved.

“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,” said WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg said in a statement.

“Instead of reversing course, the Wisconsin Election Commission has stubbornly doubled down. This lawsuit is about accountability, the rule of law, and clean and fair elections.”

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