Supreme Court Accepts Voter Registration Case, Other New Cases

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has accepted the petition for review in Zignego v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, the case surrounding the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s decision not to deactivate the registrations of Wisconsin voters who had recently moved.



Wis. Stat. § 6.50(3) provides that, if a municipal clerk or “board of election commissioners” receives information that voters have moved, it must notify the voters. If a notified voter fails to respond to the notice within 30 days, the municipal clerk or “board of election commissioners” is required to change the voter registration status to ineligible. At issue in this case is whether “board of election commissioners” refers to the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission in 2017 received from a third-party data corporation a report on voters who may have moved. Based on that data, the Commission sent notices to those voters stating that they had 30 days to respond or their registration status would switch to ineligible. The Commission subsequently deregistered those individuals who did not respond to the notice.

After receiving another report on voters who may have moved in 2019, the Commission, citing worries about inaccurate data from the 2017 report, sent out a notice to those voters but declined to state the Commission would deregister voters who did not respond.

Subsequently the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit alleging that the Commission violated § 6.50(3) by not deregistering the voters who had not responded to the notice. The Commission argued § 6.50(3) did not apply, as the Commission is not a “board of election commissioners.”


Lower Court Decisions

 The circuit court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and issued a writ of mandamus ordering the Commission to deactivate the voters. When the Commission did not deactivate the voters, the court found the Commission in contempt of court. The Commission sought a petition to bypass the Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court rejected the petition. The next day, the Court of Appeals granted the Commission’s appeal and issued a stay of the circuit court’s writ of mandamus and contempt order.

The Court of Appeals later issued a decision agreeing with the Commission that the term “board of election commissioners” in § 6.50(3) does not refer to the Commission. The Court of Appeals ordered the plaintiffs’ causes of actions dismissed and reversed the circuit court’s writ of mandamus and contempt order against the Commission.


Supreme Court Order

Plaintiffs, represented by Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, filed a petition for review by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court accepted that petition on June 1. With 2020 elections just a few months away, the court will review whether state law requires the Commission to deactivate the voters at issue.


Other New Cases

Other New Cases

The Supreme Court has also accepted:

Collison v. City of Milwaukee Bd. of Reviewreviewing Milwaukee’s practices for assessing properties with environmental pollution.

Christus Lutheran Church v. Wisconsin DOT, evaluating whether the state Department of Transportation must obtain a new appraisal in jurisdictional offers where it believes additional compensation beyond the bounds of the initial appraisal is warranted.

Applegate Farm v. Wis DOR, a rulemaking case reviewing whether the Wisconsin Department of Revenue complied with rulemaking procedures in Wis. Stat. Ch. 227 when it promulgated new rules regarding property tax classification.