Wisconsin will still be allowed to offer expanded early voting this fall, after an appeals court on Monday rejected a request to put a lower court’s decision on hold that overturned several changes in state election laws that were made by Republicans in recent years.
The state Department of Justice is seeking to reverse Federal Judge James Peterson’s ruling from July, which ended restrictions that included no early voting on weekends, imposed a two week limit on the process, and restricted in-person absentee polling places to one in each city. Republicans have argued the restrictions are meant to level the playing field between cities, which may not have the same resources available to offer extended hours. However, Peterson said the law was clearly intended to limit voting in predominantly Democratic areas.
Clerks in Milwaukee and Madison have already indicated they planned to start offering early voting in September and to open additional polling places, in the wake of Peterson’s ruling.
A spokesman for the DOJ said the agency is reviewing the order and determining its next course of action.