Wisconsin continues to work to purge voters from its rolls and it coincidentally harms Democrats in a state where the Legislature is controlled by the GOP.
The latest move comes from a conservative law firm that filed a lawsuit that would make more than 234,000 voters in Wisconsin unable to cast their ballot unless they register again before the next election.
The lawsuit could affect how many voters are able to cast ballots in both the April presidential primary and November 2020 general election in Wisconsin, a key swing state that both sides are targeting. President Donald Trump narrowly won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.
The suit by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty alleges the Wisconsin Elections Commission broke the law when it decided to wait up to two years to deactivate voters who may have moved. State law requires voters to respond within 30 days of receiving the October mailing or be deactivated, the lawsuit claims.
But the commission, which is made up of an equal number of Republican and Democratic appointees, notes it has the authority to delay deactivating voters beyond 30 days because another state law gives it the ability to create rules maintaining the voter registration list.
This isn’t the first time conservative groups in Wisconsin have moved to rig elections by removing Democratic leaning voters from the rolls.
The Center for Media and Democracy, a nationally recognized watchdog group, reported last year that a review of registration lists showed that almost 700,000 Wisconsin voters had been removed from the voter rolls since the end of December 2016, and that significantly more voters were purged from the rolls in Democratic-leaning counties than Republican-leaning counties.
It’s a tactic used by Republican legislators and governors in many states who have passed voter-ID laws and used other tactics to try to make it harder for the elderly, poor and young to vote. The laws are made under the guise of protecting the integrity of the election system, but studies repeatedly show there is little voter fraud in American elections.
Rather than looking for ways to make it more difficult for people to cast ballots, states should be looking for ways to make it easier for people to register and vote while still providing a system people have trust in.