Fight to purge 234,000 Wisconsin voters appealed; how voters can re-register if necessary

More than 230,000 Wisconsin voters may be kicked off their local poll books because of a judge’s order. However, that order was appealed Tuesday by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Local election officials say re-registering to vote is a simple process.

“I am predicting we are going to have record numbers at that election,” said Ginny Dankmeyer, La Crosse County clerk.

In an important election year, some Wisconsin voters may need to re-register.

“We don’t want people to be surprised on Election Day arriving at the polling place, expecting to be on the roll and not being on there,” said Reid Magney, Wisconsin Elections Commission public information officer.

Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy ordered the removal of several Wisconsin voters from their local voting rolls in response to a lawsuit filed by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, known as WILL.

The group argued that the Wisconsin Elections Commission was violating state law by not removing the names of people who may have moved.

The Electronic Registration Information Center is a nonprofit, multistate system that helps identify people who may have changed addresses after filing official government paperwork with a new address.

“Most of the 200,000 plus people on that list have moved and need to re-register,” Magney said.

Some public officials have raised concerns because of how close some recent elections have been. The Wisconsin Supreme Court race was decided by fewer than 6,000 votes. Gov. Tony Evers beat Scott Walker by a fewer than 30,000 votes and Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes went to Donald Trump in 2016 by only 22,000 votes out of 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin.

However, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has appealed to Malloy’s order immediately.

Even if 234,000 voters have to re-register, Dankmeyer said, people can visit myvote.wi.gov and register right on the website.

“It will tell you if something’s missing, where you need to print it off and where to mail it with proof of residency,” Dankmeyer said. “Everything you need will be right there on the website. It’s very handy for the voters to have access to that.”

She said it’s also a good educational tool.

“It will show you who your elected officials are,” she said. “It will show you what’s on your ballot so you can be prepared. You can research and be an educated voter.”

Magney said the reason people are asked to re-register is to keep things organized on Election Day.

“The whole purpose is to have shorter lines and fewer problems at the polling place on Election Day,” he said.

It’s recommended to register within 20 days of an upcoming election. Voters can register on the same day as an election. People need to bring a photo ID and proof of residence such as a property tax bill or bank statement.

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