The Attorney General and Republican Party of Wisconsin have no grounds to force the Government Accountability Board to conduct voter registration checks, according to a ruling issued Thursday morning by Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi. The judge dismissed a lawsuit against the board filed by the Department of Justice.
Sumi said there was no evidence that a violation of state or federal law was going to occur if the board only compared voter registrations after August of this year to other state databases. She says the GAB has been given the discretion to set up its own system of checks under the Help America Vote Act.
Sumi says any effort to enforce HAVA would have to come on the federal level, with the U.S. Attorney General having the power to go after states for violating the law.
DOJ spokesman Kevin St. John says the decision was disappointing and they will appeal, even if it means going beyond Election Day. He says the fight is about making sure the state has an accurate list of registered voters.
GAB Attorney Lester Pines says Thursday's ruling vindicates the Board, and it should be a relief to voters.