Wisconsin judge finds commission in contempt for not following voter purge order – By Joan McCarter (Daily Kos) / Jan 13 2020
A Wisconsin state judge who ordered a purge of 234,000 voter registrations has found the state Elections Commission in contempt of court Monday, because it has not yet acted on his ruling. That’s despite the fact his ruling has been appealed in state and federal courts.
Judge Paul Malloy says the commission as a whole must pay $50 a day until the purge starts, and furthermore has charged the three Democrats on the commission an additional $250 a day each. Not that it’s partisan or anything. Ann Jacobs, one of the Democratic commissioners, said that she believes he ruled incorrectly and isn’t ready to start disenfranchising people. “If we are going to treat voting as the central component of our democracy, we need to be far less cavalier about taking people off the rolls,” she said.
Malloy went directly after another of the Democratic commissioners, Mark Thomsen, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports for talking to reporters about the decision and the appeal, saying that the ruling ordering the purge was a single opinion by one judge. In remarks Monday, Malloy said “It isn’t smart for people who aren’t following the court’s order to make public comments or go on radio shows where the judge might see them.” He added that he “found the conduct disrespectful.” Assistant Attorney General Karla Keckhaver argued in Monday’s hearing that Malloy had not given the commission a hard deadline and that while the case was pending appeal, it should not start acting on purges. Malloy admitted that he hadn’t given a deadline, but said his order that it happen “forthwith” should have been clear.
Meanwhile, many Wisconsin voters are left confused and voting rights activists worried. Rev. Greg Lewis, the president of Souls to the Polls, told the Journal Sentinel that he’s concerned the fight itself would leave people confused and discouraged and keep them from the polls. Which, he implies, is the point. “This is not checkers. It’s chess, and the people who are doing this understand that the frustration will cause a lot of people not to even want to vote,” he said.