A decision by the Appeals Court in Madison to throw out a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission will not be the last word in the fight over questionable voter registrations.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) announced Friday that they intend to appeal the decision to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“Wisconsin deserves clean elections in 2020,” said Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel for WILL. “It is our intent to seek review in the Wisconsin Supreme Court to ensure that the Wisconsin Elections Commission complies with state law.”  

At issue is a state law that requires the Elections Commission to deactivate the voter registrations of people identified by the state of Wisconsin as having moved if the voters fail to respond to a mailer from the Commission within 30 days.

The Elections Commission decided last year not to deactivate the voter registrations until after the 2020 elections. On behalf of three voters, WILL sued to force the Election Commission to follow state law.

Judge Paul Malloy of Ozaukee County ruled that the Election Commission violated state law. In a follow up decision, Malloy held in contempt of court the Election Commission and the members who voted against complying with Malloy’s ruling. That decision was stayed by the Appeals Court in Madison pending the outcome of the appeal.

On Friday, the Appeals Court ruled against WILL and vacated Malloy’s order and contempt citations.

The Appeals Court decided that the Wisconsin Elections Commission is not a “board of election commissioners” as described in the state law.

“The Commission is an independent agency of the executive branch and is not a ‘board’ as that term is defined and employed in the Wisconsin Statutes,” the Appeals Court ruled. “Rather, it is a ‘commission’ as that term is defined and employed in the Wisconsin Statutes. Thus, the reference to a ‘board of election commissioners’ in WIS. STAT. §6.50(3) necessarily excludes the Commission.”

WILL previously attempted to get the Supreme Court to take the case directly rather than wait for the Appeals Court to issue a decision. The Supreme Court split 3-3, with Justice Dan Kelly recusing himself, leaving the case with the lower court.