WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Dec. 22, the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the deactivation of over 31,000 Wisconsin voter registrations earlier this summer. The lawsuit alleges that 31,854 voter registrations were canceled without proper notice or an opportunity to respond in violation of the 14th Amendment’s due process clause. The LWVWI is asking for these voter registrations to be reactivated ahead of the 2022 election cycle.
This lawsuit stems from 2019 when the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) sent out a letter informing over 200,000 voters that their registrations were flagged because the WEC believed the voters had moved. However, the letter did not explicitly state that the voters’ registration would be deactivated if they did not confirm or deny they had moved or update their registration. The LWVWI filed a lawsuit challenging this, which was dismissed after parallel state court litigation was thrown out for lack of standing. In July 2021, however, the WEC purged the remaining 31,854 voters left on the list they compiled in 2019 for failure to reply to the letter or vote in the past two years — without providing another notice or opportunity to respond. Given that the 2019 letter was the only potential warning to voters about their registration status, the LWVWI asserts that “each of those voters’ registration records must be reactivated because they were not given notice of the consequence of failing to act in response to the 2019 … letter—deactivation—and the deadline for taking such action.”