League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Two Registered Voters Challenge Voter Purge as Violating the U.S. Constitution
MADISON – Today, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and two registered Wisconsin voters filed a federal due process case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The lawsuit alleges the purge would violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment because the letters sent by the Wisconsin Elections Commission did not provide adequate notice of what voters needed to do to remain on the rolls, the consequences if they did not respond to the letter, and the timeline for them to act. On Friday, a state court judge ruled that state law requires the immediate removal of voters who were sent letters but had not responded.
The plaintiffs are represented by Jon Sherman, Cecilia Aguilera, and Michelle Kanter Cohen at Fair Elections Center, and Doug Poland at Rathje Woodward LLC in Madison.
The lawsuit also claims the purge violates the Due Process Clause because the Wisconsin Elections Commission told voters who did not move and had received the letter in error that they could confirm their voter registration addresses by voting in the next election, leading these voters to believe they could use and rely on this method to stay on the rolls and vote. If the purge instead occurs immediately, it would be an about-face from what voters were told in October 2019 because these voters will have their registrations cancelled before they have the chance to confirm them. The 14th Amendment prohibits this kind of last-minute rule change without providing voters notice and the opportunity to confirm their registration.
The full brief can be found here.
Other key legal documents filed by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin can be found here.
The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin is a nonpartisan political organization that advocates for informed and active participation in government. There are 20 local Leagues throughout Wisconsin. More information at lwvwi.org.
The Fair Elections Center is a national nonpartisan voting rights and election reform 501c3 organization based in Washington DC whose mission is to use litigation and advocacy to remove barriers to registration and voting, particularly those disenfranchising underrepresented and marginalized communities, and to improve election administration.
Doug Poland is an attorney at Rathje Woodward LLC with 25 years of experience in complex litigation. Mr. Poland served as lead trial counsel for plaintiffs who successfully challenged the Wisconsin Assembly legislative districts before three-judge federal court panels in 2012 and 2016, and is one of the members of the legal team that represented the respondents before the U.S. Supreme Court in Gill v. Whitford.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2019
Contact: Erin Grunze, egrunze [at] lwvwi.org, 608-256-0827
Kristen Muthig, kmuthig [at] fairelectionscenter.org, 419-706-3431