AG to file voter verification appeal after election

Chris Rizo Nov. 3, 2008, 4:36pm

J.B. Van Hollen (R)

MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has decided not to immediately appeal a decision dismissing his voter registration lawsuit, his spokesman told Legal Newsline on Monday.

"Recognizing that there is no possibility for relief before the election, we will file the appeal after the election," said Bill Cosh, communications director for the Republican attorney general.

Van Hollen, co-chair of Republican presidential nominee John McCain's Wisconsin campaign, had sued state election officials to force them to verify the identity of thousands of voters registered since Jan. 1, 2006, before Election Day.

The lawsuit was dismissed by Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi, who ruled Van Hollen lacked the authority to sue to force the state Government Accountability Board to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002, known as HAVA.

The Help America Vote Act took, which effect January 2006, required states and localities to upgrade their election procedures, including their voting machines, registration processes and poll worker training.

Van Hollen has said if the state was in compliance by the date HAVA went into effect, Wisconsin would have had to cross-check voter registrations against other state data bases from the effective date forward.

Last week, the attorney general said he would appeal the decision before Tuesday's election.

"I believe today's decision was an erroneous interpretation of the law," Van Hollen said at the time. "When a lower court gets the law wrong, parties appeal to a higher court, and that's what I will do.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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