WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Aug. 12, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) confirmed that it has reinstated the registrations of 30,554 Wisconsin voters. This voter victory stems from a 2021 federal lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin (LWVWI) challenging the deactivation of over 31,000 Wisconsin voter registrations. In the lawsuit, the LWVWI specifically alleged that 31,854 voter registrations were canceled by the WEC without giving proper notice or an opportunity for voters to respond. These 31,854 voter registrations were originally flagged in 2019 when the WEC circulated a letter to over 200,000 voters informing them that the WEC had information suggesting they had moved. The letter, however, did not explicitly state that these voters’ registrations would be deactivated if they failed to update their registration or confirm whether they had moved. The LWVWI argued that the WEC’s subsequent purging of voters who failed to respond to the 2019 letter, but who were not given any notice or opportunity to respond after this initial letter, violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On July 13, the parties filed a joint stipulation in which they agreed that by Aug. 12, the WEC would reactivate the registrations of the voters at issue in the lawsuit (excluding any voters who already re-registered or were deactivated for other valid reasons). The WEC also agreed that, going forward, it will not deactivate the registrations of voters who potentially moved unless the voters receive the following prior to deactivation: 1) notice of the potential for deactivation if the voters do not take any of the necessary actions to prevent deactivation and 2) an opportunity to take any necessary action(s) to prevent deactivation. Today’s declaration means that those whose registrations were previously canceled without proper notice or an opportunity to respond are now reinstated.