An Ozaukee County judge on Friday ordered the state to remove hundreds of thousands of people from Wisconsin’s voter rolls because they may have moved.
The case is being closely watched because of the state’s critical role in next year’s presidential race. Circuit Judge Paul Malloy also denied the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin’s petition to intervene.
Lawyers for the League and for the Wisconsin Elections Commission indicated they will appeal and asked Malloy to stay his ruling pending those appeals, but he declined.
At issue is a letter the state Elections Commission sent in October to about 234,000 voters who it believes may have moved. The letter asked the voters to update their voter registrations if they had moved or alert election officials if they were still at their same address.
The commission planned to remove the letter’s recipients from the voter rolls in 2021 if it hadn’t heard from them. But Malloy’s decision would kick them off the rolls much sooner, and well before the 2020 presidential election….
Three voters sued the commission last month with the help of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. They argued election officials were required to remove voters from the rolls 30 days after sending the letters if they hadn’t heard from them.
They asked Malloy to issue an injunction that would require election officials to purge their rolls. Kaul, commissioners and others say that would lead to some people getting knocked off the rolls who shouldn’t be.
But Malloy went further than issuing an injunction. In granting a writ of mandamus — essentially a court order that a government official or agency do its job — he said he was convinced the commission had a clear, positive, plain legal duty to purge the voter rolls within 30 days.