(MADISONWI) — Donald Trump and his right-wing henchman are already hard at work trying to rig the 2020 election as they try to purge 234,000 voters from the rolls.

“Trump and his right-wing allies know that after three years of broken promises to lower prescription drug costs, raise wages, and improve trade markets for our farmers and manufacturers, Wisconsinites can’t afford four more years of this president,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Philip Shulman said. “Now, he and his right-wing lackeys are trying to rig the election by kicking Democratic voters off the rolls instead of winning fair and square. Wisconsin Democrats are committed to fighting back, by contacting anyone who is purged and making sure they are reregistered — foul play by Trump and his fellow antagonists of democracy won’t stop us from winning this election and taking back our country.”

See coverage of the voter purge below.

NPR — All Things Considered: Ben WIkler: The thing we know is that these kinds of purges disproportionately affect young people and people of color. And those are folks who are more likely to be Democrats. So this is a purge that is motivated by partisan interests. It’s intended to knock more Democrats than Republicans off the rolls. And it’s a cause for us to organize to make sure those folks get reregistered and vote…So the first thing we do is we get a list of the folks that were purged, and we start texting and calling and reaching out to them to make sure that they know that they have been deregistered. This will come as a surprise and a shock to a lot of them. And frankly, people get angry when they find that they’ve been kicked off the voting rolls. So our plan is to make sure these folks hear from us early and often.

New York Times: “Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said the lawsuit was the ‘product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting.’ He added, ‘It should be a concern to anyone who believes in the core idea of democracy.’”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Democrats say if the order removes registrations of voters who haven’t moved, this presents unconstitutional hurdles for them during the next election. ‘The fight moves up the court system. No matter where it goes, we’ll keep fighting,’ Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Ben Wikler said in a tweet.”

CBS 58: “Ben Wikler, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said in a statement that the the judge’s decision should be overturned. ‘But whether or not it is, it’s on us to organize the Dems that the GOP is trying to suppress and make their plan backfire,’ Wikler said.”

WJFW: “’We’re supposed to have a system where voters choose their elected officials, not a system where the powerful choose who the voters will be,’ said Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Ben Wikler. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin plans to contact voters on the list to make sure they re-register before several elections take place this spring. While Wisconsin does have same day voter registration, Wikler says the process can still dissuade likely voters.”

Additional Background

  • Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy, a Republican appointee, made the decision to disenfranchise 234,000 voters by kicking them off the voter rolls before the 2020 election.
  • Before Malloy intervened, these voters weren’t supposed to be removed from the voter rolls until 2021.
  • Of the 234,000 letters that were sent, 23% of them went to residents in the Democratic strongholds of Milwaukee and Madison, despite only 14% of registered voters being from those areas.
  • State Attorney General Josh Kaul filed an appeal that would stay Judge Malloy’s decision.
  • The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed a suit in federal court that would put a hold on the Democratic voter purge.
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