Wisconsin AG sues election officials

Chris Rizo Sep. 11, 2008, 11:00am

J.B. Van Hollen (R)

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline)-Wisconsin Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen is suing the state's Government Accountability Board over claims the board failed to meet the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002.

The federal law requires states and localities upgrade their election procedures, including their voting machines, registration processes and poll worker training.

Van Hollen said Wisconsin was required to have a system in place that would meet federal requirements no later than January 1, 2006.

However, the system was not in place until just recently. The state Legislature charged the Government Accountability Board with bringing the state into compliance with the law.

The attorney general said had Wisconsin met the HAVA deadline, new voters who registered by mail since January 1, 2006, would have been subject to a so-called "HAVA check" to ensure that the information they provided to election officials matched the information in other public databases.

"The goal of this requirement is to protect the integrity of elections by ensuring that only those who are qualified and properly registered would be permitted to cast ballots," Van Hollen said.

Because the Government Accountability Board has not performed HAVA checks on voter registrations received prior to August 6, 2008, voter registration rolls include names that have not been verified, the AG said.

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, seeks to force the Government Accountability Board to perform the HAVA checks.

"Unless action is taken by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, these names will remain on the list during the November 4, 2008 presidential election and there is a significant risk, if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted," Van Hollen said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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