National Democratic Redistricting Committee: Holder statement on proposal to change special election law in Wisconsin

Contact: Patrick Rodenbush

Today, Republicans in Wisconsin said they would attempt to block a court order that called on Governor Walker to hold special elections. Instead of moving forward with the special elections, Republicans would like to change state law so the seats remain unfilled until January 2019. 

In response, Eric H. Holder, Jr., Chairman of NDRC and 82nd Attorney General of the United States, released the following statement: 

“Even for Republicans in Wisconsin, this would be a stunning action to keep citizens from exercising their right to vote. They appear to be afraid of the voters of Wisconsin. We are fully prepared to take legal action in response to any further attack on these voters, who have now been without representation since December, because of Scott Walker’s refusal to call elections.”

Yesterday, a judge in Wisconsin ordered Governor Walker to issue a writ within five days that calls special elections for two seats in the state legislature. The National Redistricting Foundation (NRF), a 501c(3) affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), supported plaintiffs residing in State Assembly District 42 and State Senate District 1 in the litigation.

On December 29, 2017, Representative Keith Ripp and Senator Frank Lasee both resigned from the legislature to take positions in Governor Walker’s administration. Since that time, Governor Walker has refused to call special elections to fill the vacancies even though he has a plain legal duty to fill them “as promptly as possible.”