Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Voters Who Moved Do Not Have To Immediately Be Removed From Voter Rolls

Written by Carmine Sabia

OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion

If those in charge of the voting in this nation want to secure voting so that only those who are legally allowed to vote can vote then they are making some ridiculous decision.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled this week that voters who move out of the state do not have to be immediately removed from the voter rolls which could set up some dangerous situations, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Friday that state election officials do not have to quickly take people off the voter rolls when they suspect they may have moved. 

The 5-2 ruling means the Wisconsin Elections Commission will not force tens of thousands of people off the rolls near a major election, such as the 2022 contest for governor and U.S. Senate.

From the outset, the case has been fraught with politics. Conservatives who brought the lawsuit said they wanted to make sure the state’s voter lists are accurate, while Democrats and election officials warned a change in state policy could result in some voters being bumped off the rolls when they shouldn’t be. 

The state law at the heart of the lawsuit over when to take voters off the rolls does not apply to the Elections Commission, the majority concluded. 

“There is no credible argument that it does,” conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn said in the majority opinion. He was joined by liberal Justices Rebecca Dallet, Jill Karofsky and Ann Walsh Bradley.

The plaintiff’s “primary argument in this case is that the Commission is a ‘board of election commissioners’ under (state law). This argument disregards nearly every foundational principle of statutory interpretation,” he said.

Sounds like Hagedorn is taking a page from the “conservative” playbook of United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts who has been a consistent disappointment to conservatives.

The Sentinel reported that Justice Hagedorn has broken from conservatives on several occasions to side with liberals and, like Chief Justice Roberts, has earned the scorn of Republicans.

Justice Hagedorn in a series of decisions after the 2020 presidential election upholding Joe Biden’s razor thin victory over Donald Trump and he even joined the liberals in keep the Green Party’s presidential candidate off of the ticket, which could have meant more votes for Biden as Green Party voters looked to vote for a candidate that most closely aligned with their ideals.

The dissenting Justices Rebecca Bradley and Annette Ziegler said that the court’s decision could affect the integrity of the voter rolls.

“The majority’s decision leaves the administration of Wisconsin’s election law in flux, at least with respect to ensuring the accuracy of the voter rolls,” Justice Rebecca Bradley said in the dissent.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the case argued that voters who move should immediately be taken off the voter rolls.

“WILL remains committed to the rule of law and to a reasonable set of election rules that acknowledges that the right to vote involves both convenience and assurances of accuracy and integrity,” Rick Esenberg, the president of the group said.

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The ruling is important as Wisconsin has become a contested state that Republicans believe they can win, as Biden was awarded the state by a margin of around 21,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election.

Keeping voters who have moved out of the state on the voter rolls does not appear to be a wise idea if one wants to promote election security.

But those who argued to not remove the voters contend that removing the voters from the voter rolls would cause election insecurity.

“This decision is a clear win for Wisconsin voters,” Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said of the decision.