Judge to determine whether AG should be disqualified from voting lawsuit

Chris Rizo Sep. 24, 2008, 11:32am

J.B. Van Hollen (R)

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) -A judge will consider today whether to disqualify Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen from a lawsuit he filed demanding that state election officials confirm thousands of voters' identities.

Van Hollen is seeking to force elections officials to confirm the identity of thousands of voters before the Nov. 4 election. Specifically, the attorney general wants state officials to compare information on thousands of voter registrations against information in other state databases.

The Republican attorney general filed the lawsuit last week against the state's Government Accountability Board over claims the board failed to meet the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, known as HAVA.

The Government Accountability Board says Van Hollen should be disqualified because state Supreme Court rules say attorneys cannot sue their own clients.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi will decide the matter at a hearing today.

In his lawsuit, Van Hollen said Wisconsin was required to have a system in place that would meet federal elections requirements no later than January 1, 2006. However, the system was not in place until just recently.

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, announcing his lawsuit.

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

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