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In 2019, conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission challenging the latter’s decision not to remove thousands of voters from the registration rolls ahead of the 2020 election.

The voters had been flagged as potentially having moved by a multi-state database of records. WILL argued state law required their names be removed. In 2021, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of WEC, saying municipal clerks, not the elections agency, were responsible for cleaning voter rolls. That allowed about 69,000 voters to remain registered.

Some cities, such as Milwaukee, had raised concerns about inaccuracy in the data used to clean the voter rolls. For example, in 2018, WEC discovered that 12,000 Wisconsin voters were removed based on inaccurate records from the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the U.S. Postal Service.


Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Voter Purge Lawsuit

Wisconsin Public Radio: Supreme Court Decision

PBS Wisconsin: What Does it Mean to Clean Milwaukee’s Voter Rolls?

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Erin Gretzinger joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism and French major at UW-Madison and will graduate in spring 2023. Erin previously worked for the Wisconsin State Journal as a reporting intern and served as the 2021-22 editor-in-chief at The Badger Herald. She is a recipient of the Jon Wolman Scholarship, the Sigrid Schultz Scholarship and the Joseph Sicherman Award Fund for her academic and reporting work.