By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
The electoral roll goes by many names such as the electoral register, poll book or most commonly voter rolls. Essentially it is the list of people who are eligible to vote in any given district.
Earlier this week the Journal Sentinel reported that a group of voters asked a judge to find the Wisconsin Elections Commission in contempt. The group asked that the commission be fined each day until it removes 200,000 voters from its rolls.
PBS reported that it’s a move Democrats are currently fighting against.
According to PBS, last month a judge ordered the purge of voters who failed to the respond to a notification. The commission had sent the notification in October 2019 to determine if voters moved, there needed to be a response within 30 days. About 232,500 voters received a notification but 209,000 have not responded to the request if they remain at their current address or if they have moved.
While Republicans on the commission wanted the purge to happen immediately, Democrats requested a delay. As a result, the commission deadlocked after debating whether or not to follow through with the judge’s order and is now looking for an appeal.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, a conservative law firm, is now asking for commission members to be found in contempt PBS reported.
Rick Esenberg, the president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, said the firm had no choice but to file the motion. PBS reported that Esenberg spoke with WISN-AM. During the interview he said that court orders are not suggestions and even though an appeal was filed orders should still be followed.
Esenberg filed his motion on Thursday, Jan. 2. In his motion he asked that the judge fine five of the six commissioners. The Journal Sentinel reported that he filed the motion on behalf of three voters from Milwaukee.
According to the Journal Sentinel, Josh Kaul, the Democratic attorney general, who represents the commission said that the commissioners should not be found in contempt. Kaul said that the commissioners are taking the issue to a higher court.
Should the purge go through, voters in Democratic areas of the state will be heavily affected. Wisconsin is known for being a swing state and will play a major role in the 2020 election.
PBS reported that Democrats don’t want to have voters re-register because it could cause an additional burden and affect turn-out.
Right now, the case is before a state appeals court with the potential to move to the Supreme Court. Although the Supreme Court has yet to respond, voter rolls will continue to be a topic of debate in the year to come.