Ruth Conniff

LWV Challenges Voter Roll Purge

Conservative group sues to demand purge, League of Women Voters seeks to intervene in case.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - Nov 29th, 2019 03:49 pm
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee
Vote here ward(s) 246, 297, 298. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Vote here ward(s) 246, 297, 298. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Responding to a lawsuit that seeks to purge 234,000 Wisconsin voters who might have changed addresses from the voting rolls, the League of Women Voters filed a motion last Friday to intervene in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) for not purging the rolls of voters who were sent a notice that information from the multi-state Electronic Information Registration Information Center (ERIC) showed they had moved. Those voters who did not respond to the notice within 30 days must be purged from the rolls, WILL argued in a complaint filed in October alleging that the Elections Commission had violated Wisconsin law.

The Elections Commission dismissed the complaint, and WILL filed the current lawsuit on Nov. 13.

A review of voter registration records by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) found that, due to the voter purge that began after Wisconsin joined ERIC in 2016, the number of registered voters in Wisconsin dropped by 697,363 between January 2017 and February 2018, “and that significantly more voters were purged from the rolls in Democratic-leaning counties than Republican-leaning counties.”

As part of the ERIC program, the state sent postcards to voters who were suspected of moving. Ninety percent of voters did not respond to the cards, CMD reported, and were purged from the rolls — even if they had not actually moved.

Because of the high number of wrongful voter purges, the Elections Commission adjusted its approach in 2019.

“When setting policies for dealing with the 2019 mailing to voters who may have moved, the Commission based its decisions on lessons learned from the 2017 movers mailing,” the commission stated in a response to the WILL complaint.

In its brief seeking to intervene as a defendant in the case, The League of Women Voters argues that “the ERIC ‘movers’ list relies on flawed, undifferentiated address data from the Wisconsin DMV.”

The WILL lawsuit is based on a statute that requires “reliable information” of a residential address change, the League points out. The group argues that “the data Wisconsin election officials are using is not reliable.”

“Based on prior experience and WEC and DMV’s failure to identify any new procedures to differentiate address data,” the brief continues, “the 2019-2020 ERIC ‘movers’ list likely once again contains a substantial amount of unreliable and demonstrably inaccurate information.”

The League argues that it should be allowed to intervene “because of its interests in maximizing voter participation through registration and protecting registered voters’ rights.”

If allowed to become a defendant in the suit, the organization will move to have WILL’s lawsuit dismissed.

Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner

One thought on “LWV Challenges Voter Roll Purge”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    There are certain problems that are extremely difficult – some would say, almost impossible – to solve. Deflation is one example, as people stop buying things because they are sure they will be cheaper tomorrow. Widespread acceptance of lying because certain groups want to believe the lies is another, one that leads to a breakdown in trust or belief in anything; and nobody can figure out how to get it back. So brute force replaces institutions and legitimate authority.

    A legitimacy crisis is also one of those extremely difficult to resolve problems, in part because it involves a breakdown in trust, but also because it is one of those drip, drip, drip problems that nobody sees coming until it is there. And, in this case, because of a sense of impunity on the parts of the rich and powerful, and widespread ignorance on the part of the Fox News addled Republican base.

    These right-wing voter purges, designed to secure permanent far-right, plutocratic Republican rule, are one small step along the way to a legitimacy crisis related to next year’s election. The president has repeatedly stated that he cannot lose a legitimate election and that he did not lose the popular vote by more than 3 million votes in 2016; or that Russian intervention had not effect on the outcome of that election. All lies.
    Despite those realities, Democrats went along with the transfer of power to Donald Trump in 2017. Given what is coming in 2020, especially if Trump survives in office and is the Republican candidate, one who will rely on voter suppression, a campaign of hatred and division and Russian support, the chances of a smooth transition in January, 2021 grow slimmer by the day. We should remember that no one really saw what was coming in early 1860, September, 1929, or September 10, 2001.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us