Justice Rebecca Bradley says it’s unlikely the state Supreme Court will have an opportunity to rule before the 2020 election in a case impacting the registrations of voters who may have moved now that it has passed on hearing the appeal directly.

The court deadlocked 3-3 Monday on a request from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty to bypass the 4th District Court of Appeals.

One day after the Supreme Court’s action, the 4th District issued orders staying Ozaukee County Judge Paul Malloy’s directive for the commission to deactivate the registrations of some 209,000 voters who may have moved. The court also issued an order staying the contempt penalties Malloy levied against the commission and three Dem members for each day the agency failed to comply with his order.

Conservative Justice Daniel Kelly didn’t participate in the request for the Supreme Court to take the case. Conservative Brian Hagedorn joined liberals Rebecca Dallet and Ann Walsh Bradley in declining WILL’s request. The three didn’t explain their reasoning.

But Rebecca Bradley took her colleagues to task in a dissent that was joined by fellow conservatives Pat Roggensack and Annette Ziegler.

The Elections Commission last year decided to give voters who may have moved until 2021 to respond to a mailing checking on their current address before deactivating their registrations. WILL filed suit on behalf of three voters arguing those who may have moved are only allowed 30 days to respond to the mailing under state law. Malloy sided with WILL.

Rebecca Bradley wrote there was no case law on the issue and only a decision from the state Supreme Court can provide clarity for election officials. There’s also a lawsuit pending in federal court, and Bradley warned the judge in that case may decide to proceed now that the state Supreme Court has declined to act.

“The court’s decision to take a pass on this case irreparably denies the citizens of Wisconsin
a timely resolution of issues that impact voter rights and the integrity of our elections,” Bradley wrote.

On Monday, Malloy had levied fines of $250 a day against each of the three Dem members until the commission complied with his order. He added another $50 each day for the commission.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email