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Excerpts from Court Decision in J.B. Van Hollen vs. Government Accountability Board, Case No. 08CV4085

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  • Leila Pine
    Hi All Those Wondering What the Court Decision Said, I was told that Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi s Oct. 23, 2008 decision and order, which
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2008

      Hi All Those Wondering What the Court Decision Said,


      I was told that Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi’s Oct. 23, 2008 decision and order, which dismissed the lawsuit filed by J.B. Van Hollen (Wis. Attorney General and head of McCain/Palin campaign for Wisconsin) and the Republic Party of Wisconsin against the Wis. Government Accountability Board are NOT online, according to the Dane County Clerk of Court’s Office.  So I went down there late this afternoon in person to get a copy of the decision.  


      The decision is 22 pages long, so I can’t retype the whole thing.  But below are some excerpts I have selected which might be helpful to voters whose eligibility to vote is challenged.  I apologize for any typos I may not have caught.  If you want to see the whole thing, go to the Court Records office at 215 S. Hamilton St. and ask for Case No. 08CV4085.  The judge dismissed Van Hollen’s (and the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s) lawsuit both for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted (p. 16) and because the Attorney General and the Republican Party of Wisconsin have no legal standing to sue the Government Accountability Board.


      Leila Pine



      Excerpts from court order in J.B. Van Hollen and Republican Party of Wisconsin vs. Government Accountability Board et al., Order by Judge Maryann Sumi (Dane County Circuit Court Branch 2) in

      Case No. 08CV4085:


      p. 15—“On November 4th each qualified voter in Wisconsin will go to the polls, as our Supreme Court said in 1875, vested with the franchise [LP’s note: the right to vote].  It doesn’t matter if the DOT has misspelled his name or if her middle initial is missing on the voter list.  Neither HAVA [ LP: the federal Help America Vote Act] nor state law require a database match as a precondition to voting.  Nor do they require that the voter show any proof of eligibility, essentially to reregister, in the event of a mismatch. . . Nothing in state or federal law requires that there be a data match as a condition on the right to vote.  HAVA does not supplant Wisconsin’s constitutionally protected right to establish its own voter eligibility standards.”


      p. 16—“...The complaint must therefore be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief, whether by mandamus, injunction, or declaration of rights, may be granted.”


      p. 18—“...By way of contrast, the legislature has treated violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 differently [than HAVA]...And it did so by directly authorizing the attorney general to commence an action on behalf of any voter in this state whose rights have been violated...”

                  “The conclusion to be drawn here is that the legislature knows how to give the attorney general authority to sue.  And the legislature did so for the Voting Rights Act but not for HAVA.  The attorney general is without standing in this action.”


      p. 19—“Three days after the Sixth Circuit [LP: in Ohio] issued its decision, the United States Supreme Court in that same case confirmed that HAVA did not create a private right of action that would allow individuals or groups who would represent them to file lawsuits enforcing HAVA...”


      p. 20—“And so in the absence of any federal or state law requirement conditioning the right to vote on a HAVA check or having people flagged to reregister at the polls, the court is without authority to create such a requirement....”



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