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Wisconsin GOP Supreme Court Justice Who Lost Re-Election Wants to Rejoin Voter Purge Case Before Leaving the Court

Wisconsin GOP Supreme Court Justice Who Lost Re-Election Wants to Rejoin Voter Purge Case Before Leaving the Court
Daniel Kelly

Wisconsin saw its election upended earlier this month in the face of the national health crisis.

Absentee ballot requests surged from around 250 thousand to over a million just before the election as Wisconsinites observed stay at home measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Due to the unprecedented demand in absentee ballot requests, there was no feasible way to deliver the ballots to voters ahead of the election, leading the Democratic National Committee to request an extension of the absentee voting deadline by a week.

Republicans opposed the effort and won, resulting in hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites being forced to choose between voting in person and potentially exposing themselves to the virus or not voting at all.

Republicans were hoping this blatant voter suppression would pay off with the reelection of conservative judge Daniel Kelly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but in a major victory for Democrats, liberal leaning Jill Karofsky defeated him.

But that doesn't mean Kelly and the rest of the Republicans on the Wisconsin Supreme Court aren't done doing damage.

Kelly had previously recused himself from the case of Zignego v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, which could result in a massive purge of Wisconsin voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election, but since Kelly's election is over, he's signaled that he may oversee the case after all before he leaves the bench in August.

Kelly wrote in a letter to the parties:

"The 2020 spring general election is now complete, so it appears the reason for my recusal from considering any aspect of this matter no longer obtains. I issue this order to give the parties an opportunity to state their position on whether I should recuse myself from considering the pending petition for review and, potentially, the merits of these consolidated appeals, before I make a final decision on my participation."

The move signals a solidarity with Republican voter suppression efforts in a state that's crucial for Democrats to win in November.

Others were happy to give their position on whether or not Kelly should still preside over the case.

Voter suppression is an all too common tactic for the GOP.

Don't let them get away with it. Check your voter registration status here.

For a deeper look into the history of GOP voter suppression, check out Uncounted, available here.