Update: The headline has been updated to reflect late developments on Tuesday, when an appeals court temporarily stopped the state from removing approximately 200,000 people from the Wisconsin voters rolls. In addition, one of the judges put on hold a ruling that found election commissions in contempt of court. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has more information.
Wisconsin's top court has cleared the way for about 209,000 people to be taken off the state's voter rolls, even while an appeal continues of a lawsuit about the future of the registration lists in one of the most prominent 2020 battlegrounds.
The state Supreme Court issued the order Monday night, just hours after a trial judge held three state election commissioners in contempt and ordered the panel to proceed immediately with the removal of the names.
The fight is at the most advanced stage of the several in bellwether states over the accuracy of their poll books. And how it's ultimately resolved could be enormously consequential for the presidential election. That's because the number of registrations in dispute is nine times larger than the margin of victory in 2016, when Donald Trump took the state's 10 electoral votes as the first GOP nominee to carry Wisconsin since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
The pitched battle over the voter list in one of the nation's most important 2020 battlegrounds is only growing more intense.
A group of conservative voters on Thursday asked a judge to hold the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt of court and fine the panel $12,000 every day until it removes 209,000 names from registration rosters. Democrats are fighting to keep those people on the rolls.
The fight is particularly important for two reasons. The size of the potential purge is nine times bigger than Donald Trump's margin of victory in the state (23,000 votes) four years ago. And the effort to cull the lists represents one of the right's most aggressive legal challenges to voting rights ahead of this year's presidential election.
One of the most prominent talking points in the entire democracy reform movement is that curbing money's sway over elections is a prerequisite to fixing every one of the nation's biggest problems. Now critics of partisan gerrymandering are trying to piggyback on that concept.
A new study concludes that aggressive legislative mapmaking by Republican majorities is responsible for the lack of any new gun control laws in five states during a decade marked by the accelerating pace of mass shootings.
In issuing the report Tuesday, the Center for American Progress, one of Washington's most influential liberal think tanks, joined the lengthening roster of groups advocating for states to take the drawing of political boundaries away from the politicians themselves in and turn the responsibility over to independent and nonpartisan panels.
Civil rights advocates and Democratic operatives are vowing to register more new voters in Wisconsin than the 200,000 or more who are set to be dropped from the rolls under a judge's order last week.
How well that effort succeeds will say a lot about the ability of grassroots organizers to get more people to the polls in 2020 in the face of government actions that would normally tamp down turnout. The outcome could also prove crucial in the presidential race, because even though Wisconsin was part of the "blue wall" that Hillary Clinton was counting on in 2016, in the end Donald Trump secured its 10 electoral votes by a margin of fewer than 23,000 ballots.
This fall letters were sent to 234,000 registered voters suspected of moving out of state, giving them 30 days to respond or else find themselves dropped from the rolls — but not before 2021. The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty then sued, arguing that under state law such people should be removed from the voter lists before the 2020 election.