A state judge on Friday ordered more than 200,000 voters to be kicked off of voter roles in Wisconsin ahead of the 2020 elections — just three years after President Donald Trump won the state by fewer than 23,000 votes.
The voters were initially listed in an October letter from the Wisconsin Elections Commission as having potentially changed addresses. They would have been purged in 2021, but a lawsuit from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty argued the date should be pushed up to before the 2020 election, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy ordered the government to do so, and rejected calls from the commission and the League of Women Voters to stay his order pending an appeal, according to the Sentinel.
Malloy was appointed by Republican Gov. Scott McCallum in 2002 and has been elected to the post three times since.
“This would create chaos to do this now,” assistant attorney general Karla Keckhaver, representing the commission, argued in court.
Purged voters have a chance to re-register, but only a few thousand have so far.
“There’s no basis for saying 12 to 24 months is a good time frame. It’s not that difficult to do it sooner,” Malloy said in court, per the Sentinel. “If you don’t like (it), you have to go back to the Legislature.”
Democrats protested the ruling, which the Sentinel reported applied to more voters in municipalities that supported Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump in 2016.
Trump won the state that year with a margin of fewer than 23,000 votes.
I won the race for governor by less than 30,000 votes. This move pushed by Republicans to remove 200,000 Wisconsinites from the voter rolls is just another attempt at overriding the will of the people and stifling the democratic process. https://t.co/SQDjdsQ6HW
— Tony Evers (@Tony4WI) December 13, 2019
Here they go. Voter purge in Wisconsin that disproportionately targets Democrats, people of color and those who voted for Hillary in 2016. The expected unfairness. Fight this Wisconsin! Fight for a fair election. https://t.co/lAKTHbwyBW
— Eric Holder (@EricHolder) December 14, 2019