MADISON – The Wisconsin Supreme Court announced Tuesday it would hear arguments over who should remain on the state’s voter rolls in late September at the earliest — the latest sign the court won’t decide the case until after the presidential election.
In a 5-2 order, the justices wrote that they would hold arguments as part of the court’s regular schedule and would not do so before Sept. 29. With arguments so late in the fall, it appears unlikely the court would rule before the Nov. 3 election — a point the dissenters noted.
The state Elections Commission last year alerted about 232,000 voters that it believed had moved. It asked them to confirm their address or update their voter registrations.
Three voters represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty sued, arguing the voters had to be taken off the rolls. They won before an Ozaukee County judge, but an appeals court concluded the state was not required to take the voters off the rolls.
Those who sued asked to fast track the case before the state Supreme Court, saying it should be decided based on filings without holding arguments. The justices rejected that request Tuesday and wrote that they would hold arguments “in the normal course.”
Two of the court’s five conservatives dissented, writing that the schedule the court set “renders a timely decision impossible.” They contended arguments should be held in August so a decision could be reached before the election.
“Justice for the people of Wisconsin means deciding this case expeditiously for the citizens of Wisconsin in order to ensure the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections going forward,” Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote in a dissent that was joined by Justice Daniel Kelly.
Kelly is leaving the court at the end of July and will be replaced by Jill Karofsky, a liberal judge from Dane County who defeated him in an April election. That will shift the conservative majority on the high court from 5-2 to 4-3.
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