A massive voter purge in Wisconsin threatens the 2020 election — here's how activists are fighting back

A massive voter purge in Wisconsin threatens the 2020 election — here's how activists are fighting back
President Donald J. Trump addresses his remarks on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during a visit Friday, July 12, 2019, at Derco Aerospace Inc in Milwaukee, Wisc. (Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

Pro-democracy advocates on Saturday vowed to ensure all Wisconsin voters are permitted to vote in the 2020 election after a state judge ordered more than 200,000 voters to be purged from the rolls.


The state had sent letters to 234,000 people who were believed to have moved, who were told they would be removed from voting lists if they did not respond within 30 days—but that the purge would not take place until 2021.

Conservative group Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit, saying the voters should be removed from the rolls before the next general election.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 55% of the voters who were sent letters were in districts which Hillary Clinton won in 2016, including many in the state's two largest cities and in college towns.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder said the right-wing effort to create confusion among likely-Democratic voters in a state where President Donald Trump won by less than 23,000 votes in 2016 was "expected unfairness" from the conservative group.

Ben Wikler, chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, called the purge a "product of a right-wing legal and political strategy to prevent eligible voters from voting."

"It should be a concern to anyone who believes in the core idea of democracy," Wikler said, but he noted on Twitter that voters whose names are removed from rolls can still re-register in the state, including on Election Day. He called on voting rights advocates to help make sure purged voters get to the polls in 2020.

"Now our job is to organize harder than they can suppress," Wikler said.

The League of Women Voters and election officials said they would fight the judge's decision in court.

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.