Democrats scored a significant victory in Wisconsin when a liberal challenger upset a Republican incumbent to win a State Supreme Court seat.
Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky defeated Justice Daniel Kelly — who was backed and endorsed by President Donald Trump — in a race for the Supreme Court seat.
Karofsky’s win will cut the conservative majority on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court to 4-3.
In a statement Monday night, Karofsky sent a “heartfelt thank you to the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites who made their voice heard in this unprecedented election.”
“Although we were successful in this race, the circumstances under which this election was conducted were simply unacceptable, and raise serious concerns for the future of our democracy. Nobody in this state or in this country should have been forced to choose between their safety and participation in an election. Too many were unable to have their voices heard because they didn’t feel safe leaving their home or their absentee ballots weren’t counted,” she added.
The Wisconsin primary took place after multiple legal challenges that wound their way to the state and U.S. supreme courts.
Wisconsin’s Democratic Gov. Tony Evers previously signed an executive order to postpone the state’s primary election absentee ballot deadline.
Then, both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Wisconsin State Supreme Court stepped in to deliver last-minute rulings to stop Democrats from changing the primary election rules.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the Ever’s executive order to postpone the primary election until June, but Republicans immediately took it to court and won.
Then, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned another lower court ruling that gave voters six more days to hand in their absentee ballots.
In a 5-4 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court justices argued that changing that deadline “so close to the election date,” and adding six more days for ballots to be cast “fundamentally alter the nature of the election.”
The Court said it did not want to get involved but “when a lower court intervenes and alters the election rules so close to the election date, our precedents indicate that this Court, as appropriate, should correct that error.”
The U.S. Supreme Court vote went along party lines, with all four liberal justices dissented.
Karofsky winning the seat and cutting the conservative majority to 4-3 is also a big deal because Wisconsin’s State Supreme Court is currently hearing a gigantic voting rights case.
The court is currently deadlocked 3-3 on the voting rights case that could result in 240,000 people being removed from Wisconsin’s voter rolls ahead of November’s election.
Republicans argue the 240,000 names on the voter rolls are deceased, inactive, and/or did not have properly register to vote.
Democrats want to keep them on the voter rolls and give them all the opportunity to vote, which would result in some voter fraud given the alleged issues.
President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by less than 23,000 votes in Wisconsin in the 2016 election.
So this case could have a huge effect on November.