GAB Protects Thousands of Wisconsin Voters from Baseless Challenges at Polls

Oct 16, 2008

Voters Can’t be Removed from Rolls or Challenged
on Election Day Because of HAVA Mismatch

MADISON – Despite the best efforts of JB Van Hollen and the Republicans to influence the election by disenfranchising thousands of voters, not a single voter can be removed from the rolls or challenged on Election Day simply because their names appear differently on two state databases, according to a formal opinion released by the Government Accountability Board.


“This is great news for Wisconsin voters who want to participate in this historic election without being held up by an unnecessary and partisan attempt to challenge the process,” said Joe Wineke, Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair. “Every eligible voter in Wisconsin has a right to exercise their most basic American right and now no one will be challenged or denied that right on Election Day simply because their name appears differently on two state voter lists.”

In September, Van Hollen, who is state Co-Chair for John McCain’s campaign, brought a politically motivated lawsuit in collusion with the Republican Party designed to disenfranchise voters and sway the election in favor of McCain. Van Hollen’s lawsuit asked the GAB to crosscheck voter registration files back to 2006 and the Republican Party of Wisconsin demanded that the Court order the GAB to remove voters from the rolls simply because their names appear differently on two state databases, affecting up to 1 million voters. (Source: AP, 10/1/08)

Last week, the RPW, as party to Van Hollen’s lawsuit, asked a DaneCounty Judge to require Milwaukee voters who failed a “HAVA” cross-check to be required to show ID at the polls or be forced to cast provisional ballots. (Source: MJS, 10/10/08) The RPW is also setting the stage to challenge these voters at the polls.

The GAB’s recent opinion effectively nullifies the intent of both Van Hollen’s lawsuit, and the RPW motion, by saying that no voter may be removed from the rolls or challenged on Election Day simply because of a HAVA mismatch. The opinion, which was issued in response to an inquiry from the Milwaukee Election Commission, reads in part:

The fact information in a voter’s registration records do not match similar information in other databases is not sufficient grounds to disqualify an elector and remove his or her name from the voter list and does not provide a basis for a challenge to the elector’s ballot under § 6.925, Stats., or under chapter GAB 9, Wis. Adm. Code, or to the elector’s registration under § 6.48, Stats. (Source: GAB formal opinion to Milwaukee Board of Election Commissioners, 10/6/08)

Paid for by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Ben Wikler, Chair