A Wisconsin judge said, “time is of the essence,” in removing over 200,000 names from the state’s voter rolls.
The Associated Press reports, Judge Paul Malloy found the state’s election commission to be in contempt and ordered the bipartisan panel to immediately begin removing up to 209,000 names or face anywhere between $50 to $250 in fines for each day they don’t.
The AP reports that during Monday’s (Jan. 13) ruling, Judge Malloy appeared peeved that commissioners hadn’t already begun purging voters.
Judge Malloy said that “time is of the essence in this case” and that the case cannot wait for an appeals court of the state Supreme Court to decide, the AP reports.
“I cannot be clearer on this. They need to follow the order,” Malloy said, according to the AP.
“You have this court order, you have an appeal, and a petition to the Supreme Court. But nothing has told this court that it can’t act,” Malloy said in response to the commission’s request to appeals courts to put the ruling on hold, the AP reports.
According to the AP, the affected voters come more heavily from Democratic areas of Wisconsin, including Milwaukee and cities with college campuses.
Demonstrators rallied outside the courthouse before Monday’s hearing to protest and organizers said the purge would unfairly affect voters of color, the AP reports.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Rev. Greg Lewis, head of the get-out-the-vote group Souls to the Polls Milwaukee, said, “This is not checkers. It’s chess, and the people who are doing this understand that the frustration will cause a lot of people not to even want to vote.”