Eric Holder-backed group sues Wisconsin over early-voting limits

Two liberal groups on Monday asked a federal judge to overturn limits to early voting in Wisconsin that were signed into law last week by outgoing Gov. Scott Walker (R).

One Wisconsin Institute, with the support of the National Redistricting Foundation, a group headed by former Obama Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderVoter suppression bills are the first move in a bigger battle Holder, Yates lead letter backing Biden pick for Civil Rights Division at DOJ Senate panel dukes it out over voting rights MORE, filed the motion with U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson. Citizen Action of Wisconsin Education Fund is also involved in the lawsuit, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The changes approved by Walker would limit early voting in the state to two weeks before Election Day. Many heavily Democratic counties in the state have allowed early voting for longer than two weeks.


In a statement from the National Redistricting Foundation, Holder said Republicans are attempting "to suppress the votes of people of color in the state."

"Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature and their defeated governor are using their gerrymandered majorities to — once again — attempt to suppress the votes of people of color in the state,” he said. 

“Their blatant disregard for a previous court ruling and refusal to listen to the will of the people are another shameful mark on the legacy of Scott Walker and his allies in the legislature."

Scot Ross, the executive director of the One Wisconsin Institute, said in a statement that GOP "attempts to rig the rules on voting were unconstitutional in 2016 and they’re unconstitutional today."

"We are going back to federal court to ask the judge to enforce his previous ruling and actions to force the GOP to respect our right to vote," Ross added. 

Peterson, an Obama appointee, ruled similar early voting restrictions unconstitutional in 2016. 

Walker signed the new restrictions, which were included in a series of bills passed during the lame-duck legislative session by Republicans. Those bills were passed after Democrats won statewide offices in Wisconsin in the midterms, including the governor's race.

Critics say the bills are meant to weaken the incoming Democratic administration, but Republicans have defended their actions, saying that they are still in charge of the state until next month.