Wisconsin judge orders up to 209K voter names be deleted
PORT WASHINGTON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge on Monday found the state’s bipartisan elections commission to be in contempt and ordered it to begin removing up to 209,000 names from the state’s voter rolls or face fines for each day it doesn’t.
Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy said in his ruling that “time is of the essence in this case” and cannot wait for an appeals court or the state Supreme Court to decide the case. He also seemed peeved that commissioners hadn’t begun deactivating the voter registrations as he ordered in December.
“I cannot be clearer on this. They need to follow the order,” Malloy said.
The state Justice Department asked Malloy to put his order of contempt on hold pending an appeal of his ruling, but the judge denied the request. Malloy held in contempt the sixperson commission and its three Democratic members, who previously voted against moving ahead with the purge. Those three would each face a $250 fine for every day they don’t comply, but the three Republican members wouldn’t. The commission as a whole, however, faces $50 fines every day the purge doesn’t happen.
Malloy was appointed to the bench in 2002 by thenGov. Scott McCallum, a Republican, and he has been elected three times.
The case is being closely watched, as Wisconsin is a battleground state that Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. Democrats are fighting the lawsuit, saying the purge would unfairly affect their voters. Republicans say they merely want to ensure that people who have moved are not able to vote from their old addresses.