A judge on Tuesday barred Wisconsin election officials from using a federal voter registration form because they had never officially authorized its use.
The conservative law firm Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty filed a lawsuit in September 2022, asking a judge to declare the National Mail Voter Registration Application illegal in the state.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Waukesha resident Richard Braun, alleges that the form does not include places to fill out information such as whether a voter has been convicted of a felony and how long they have lived in their county. The lawsuit further argues that the Wisconsin Elections Commission never authorized use of the form and never developed administrative rules for its use.
THE JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT RULE STATE LEGISLATION DO NOT HAVE EXCLUSIVE CONTROL OVER VOTING IN MAJOR DECISIONS
Lawyers for the WEC argued that the form was approved by an electoral agency that preceded the commission.
Waukesha County District Judge Michael Maxwell ruled that the WEC never authorized it and never issued administrative regulations for its use. Lawyers for the WEC could not provide any credible evidence as to when, where or how the form was approved, he added.
With that settled, there is no need to determine whether the form complies with Wisconsin law, he said.
Gillian Drummond, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice who defended the WEC in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the ruling.
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Under federal law, many states are required to use the form provided by the US Election Assistance Commission. However, Wisconsin is not one of those states because the state allows voters to register to go to the ballot box on Election Day.
Wisconsin residents do not need to use the federal form to register to vote. In addition to same-day registration, they can also register online, at their parish clerk’s office, or by mail using a government form available in English, Spanish, and Hmong on the WEC website.