November 30, 2022

DEMOCRACY WINS: Wisconsin Republicans lose voter turnout restriction lawsuit

DEMOCRACY WINS: Wisconsin Republicans lose voter turnout restriction lawsuit

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Wisconsin Republicans have chalked up a loss — and Democracy has scored a small win — with the dismissal of a lawsuit intended to halt “get out the vote” programs including canvassing and registration drives.

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The Wisconsin GOP was fighting to stop privately-funded voter outreach, arguing that the effort had partisan support and funding. They complained that there had been communication between the outreach group and current local government officials.

Although the city was neither coordinating nor funding the effort to make sure eligible voters are registered and informed, the GOP demanded that they be stopped.

It’s the party’s second lawsuit regarding voter registration outreach to be dismissed this month. The first was to force the Milwaukee Election Commission, Mayor Cavalier Johnson, and Governor Tony Evers to turn over any records connected to MilwaukeeVotes 2022.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal reports:

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“[Judge Gwen Connolly] found that the Republican Party and [voter Elizabeth] Burke had not identified any specific law related to government transparency that was supposedly violated, ‘in essence, asking this Court to make new law and retroactively impose the law on the defendants in order to ameliorate their “significant concerns.” The Court is unwilling to do so.'”

The city emphasized that, while a progressive advertising and digital firm, GPS Impact, had given advice to the nonprofits running the voter outreach, the company had received no taxpayer funding “from the city or any other entity,” and that the Mayor’s only connection was to voice support of registration drives.

From PBS Wisconsin:

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“The fact that the Republicans have rushed out a news release on a lawsuit — based on a records request submitted just days ago — suggests this is more about political posturing than it is about a substantive legal issue,” [Mayor’s Office spokesperson Jeff] Fleming said.

Despite successfully obtaining the requested records from government officials, the Wisconsin GOP was unable to make a case for any illegal activity.

Since Donald Trump’s 2020 loss, Republicans across the country have fought to enact more laws that limit access to voting and registration, while Democrats — in large part energized by the efforts of Stacy Abrams in Georgia, whose work is credited with a major role in flipping the state blue — have fought to register voters, extend early voting, and otherwise make voting accessible for everyone.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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