This is a long term on going story….last year a conservative movement to remove 200,000 voters from the rolls got underway. There have been dozens of stories and finagles and court cases and on and on since then. But I suggest that the original case is moot and we need to move on.
At issue is the voting status of thousands of people who election officials believe might have moved because they filed changes of address at the post office, registered vehicles at new addresses or provided new addresses to other government agencies.
The state sent letters to about 234,000 people in October asking them to update their voter registration or confirm they were still at the same address. The Wisconsin Elections Commission planned to remove people from the rolls in 2021 if they didn’t take action before then.
But three voters represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued, arguing the state must take people off the rolls much more quickly.emphasis mine
Now the issue is rolling back through the courts and has come to the forefront because the case may be coming back to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. And that is of concern because lame duck Justice Daniel Kelly originally recused himself because he was on the ballot in the spring general election. He lost to Judge Jill Karofsky. But Judge Karofsky won’t be seated on the Supreme Court until July 2020 AND Justice Kelly says he no longer feels the necessity to recuse himself when the case comes before the court.
Days after learning he was losing his seat on the state Supreme Court, Justice Daniel Kelly signaled he would participate in a case over who should remain on Wisconsin’s voter rolls after earlier stepping away from the lawsuit.
The case is expected to determine whether tens of thousands of voters who are suspected of having moved can stay on the state’s voter rolls. Both sides are watching the case closely because Donald Trump won Wisconsin’s presidential election by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.
Before last week’s election, Kelly said he would be inclined to re-join the case whether he won or lost his bid for a new term on the court.
On Wednesday, he made that clearer with a court order saying it appears he no longer has a conflict in the case. He asked those involved in the case to file briefs by next week on what they think he should do before he makes a final decision.
His involvement in the case could prove crucial. In December, he declined to be involved in the case and the remaining justices split 3-3 on whether to accept the case before an appeals court had ruled on it.
So this is worrisome on any number of levels…but may I suggest that the case simply be dismissed? Because it isn’t important? No…but it’s moot. We have now had TWO additional elections held since the original list was generated. One spring primary and one spring general.
If you want to purge, the first move would be to match the NEW and CURRENT voter rolls with the purge list.
If people on the list voted at their listed address…well I guess they are current and didn’t move and can’t be purged. If they voted this recently they are not eligible for purge anyway.
If they registered at a new address, well now they are current and the old record can be purged as planned.
So I suggest we clean up the rolls with the latest voter information and generate a new list and start over. But given the pandemic environment and the lack of time between now and the August primaries and November general election…it seems like 2021 is more appropriate time to take it on…plus we’ll have two more elections (one a high turnout presidential election) to get it straight!