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La Crosse political expert calls voter purge fight confusing

Brad Williams

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Wisconsin’s Supreme Court could decide this week whether to intervene in a conservative effort to purge as many as 209,000 voters who haven’t updated their addresses. 

Democrats claim the purge could hurt their efforts to win elections in Wisconsin. 

Political scientist Joe Heim from UW-L says such a mass elimination of voters from the rolls could discourage many from trying to vote, if they’re turned away at the polls.

“Many of them will go home, get their stuff, come back, obviously,” said Heim on WIZM’s La Crosse Talk. “But you know and I know that in a big election, you wait in line, and some people are just gonna say ‘No, I don’t think I’m gonna bother.'”

Heim said any effort to drop a large number of voters at one time could be characterized as voter suppression. 

But Heim says many of the voters who could be taken off registration lists might have missed a warning, and were not aware that they only had a 30-day window to update their addresses.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to put the original ruling on hold by Friday or direct a lower appeals court to consider doing so.