Conservatives ask judge to force purge of 200,000 voters in Wisconsin

A conservative law firm in Wisconsin asked a judge Thursday to find the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) in contempt and fine its members $2,000 a day until the commission purges more than 200,000 voters from the rolls.

At issue is the status of voters who may have moved addresses and did not respond within 30 days to a confirmation notice sent by the election panel, The Associated Press reports.

The commission mailed approximately 232,500 voters to tell them records indicated a change in address and that they needed to verify the address where they were registered to vote. However, a large majority of voters didn't respond to the inquiry — 209,000 voters didn't request continuation at their current address or seek to register at another one, according to the AP.

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In December, a judge ordered the commission to purge those voters. But the bipartisan WEC is appealing the judge's order and has not carried out the purge while the matter is being litigated in the courts.

Conservatives say the courts should force the election commission to act now.

“Court orders are not suggestions,” Rick Esenberg, head of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which is seeking the action, said on local station WISN-AM. “They are not rendered inoperative by the fact that you filed an appeal.”

Esenberg and the law firm say the voter purge should happen immediately since the judge previously ruled that the WEC was breaking state law by not carrying out the purge.

Democratic groups are fighting the order. According to the AP, most of the voters who would be affected in a purge are from areas that are mostly Democratic. The action would have high stakes for the 2020 election: Wisconsin, a perennial battleground state, was won by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden on Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power: 'What country are we in?' Romney: 'Unthinkable and unacceptable' to not commit to peaceful transition of power Two Louisville police officers shot amid Breonna Taylor grand jury protests MORE in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty has asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to directly take up the appeal.