Political battle heats up surrounding Wisconsin voter purge case

Wisconsin Voter Purge Case
The potential removal of more than 200,000 voters from Wisconsin roles may impact the November presidential election in the state.


. A judge’s order to remove the voters, who may have moved, was put on hold Tuesday. One local political expert said the decision could have an impact on the race for president.

“We are going to be one of the three or four states that decide the presidential election,” said Joe Heim, a local political expert, and former professor at UW La Crosse. “If you look across the country. Biden beats Trump by about five or six points in national polls. In Wisconsin, it’s pretty much even.”

Wisconsin is basically the definition of a swing state. In 2016 President Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 23,000 votes.

“That’s why political parties around the country are watching this,” Heim said.

Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to immediately remove those voters.

“He was going to fine the three democrats who voted for it on a daily basis,” Heim said. “It gives you an idea that there’s a little politics involved in this whole thing.”

The Wisconsin appeals court has put that order on hold. Many experts believe it’s a victory for Democrats.

“It’s all about politics,” Heim said.

A conservative law firm known as WILL went to an Ozaukee County judge to remove these voters. Ozaukee County voted red in 2016. A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis found that 23 percent of those 209,000 voters come from Milwaukee and Madison.

Those places tend to have more Democratic voters. Dane County and Milwaukee County had a majority of people vote for Clinton. Heim said a lot of the voters targeted in this case are renters and people who move a lot.

“They are younger people such as students in democratic leaning areas,” Heim said.

However, Wisconsin law points in favor of Malloy’s order. There is a case for each side of the issue.

“There’s good arguments on both sides,” Heim said.

Heim said the argument comes down to the law,  which exists to protect voter fraud. The other side argues the issue is about voters’ rights whether they have moved or not.

The Scholars Strategy Network highlights the search for voter fraud under President George W. Bush. The U.S. Justice Department found just 26 people were convicted of illegal voting out of more than 197 million votes cast in three years of the program.

“It’s fairly clear voter suppression is a technique used by one of the political parties,” Heim said.

It’s fairly simple to re-register to vote. Wisconsin residents can register at myvote.wi.gov. Voters can also register at the polls in Wisconsin. Heim said it’s unclear whether or not these voters will be removed before the November election.

He said even if it happens a majority of those people will still vote. The decision could cause an inconvenience for some voters.  There will be a number of those people who will not vote.

There is a Feb. primary and an April election coming up for Wisconsin districts. However, Heim said it is unlikely a decision on these voters will happen anytime soon.