Media Center



adison - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed a brief this afternoon with the Dane County Circuit Court setting forth the reasons why Van Hollen's lawsuit seeking to enforce Wisconsin's election laws is properly before the court and should be allowed to continue.


The brief criticizes the Defendants and Defendant-Intervenors for misunderstanding or mischaracterizing the lawsuit. As the brief explains, "The strategy [of the Defendant-Intervenors] is clear. The more hot air that gets pumped into a balloon, the easier it is to pop." Countering the mischaracterizations of the law and the lawsuit made in briefs and in public statements of interest groups, Van Hollen's brief explains:


  • The lawsuit does not demand that names be removed from the statewide voter list if, for example, there is a spelling inconsistency among databases;
  • The Government Accountability Board has discretion in how to use information derived from voter cross-checks to maintain an accurate statewide voter list, but cross-checking applicable registrations since January 1, 2006 (the HAVA check) is mandatory;
  • The suit enforces state law, which requires HAVA-compliance; and
  • Running HAVA checks will not disenfranchise a single voter; indeed, the Government Accountability Board is running some HAVA checks today. The Attorney General's lawsuit merely asks the Government Accountability Board to apply the law to all applicable registrations and maintain the voter list in a "uniform and nondiscriminatory manner."


The brief also thoroughly explains the Attorney General's authority to bring the action.


"As the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals made clear in yesterday's decision, the purpose of the Help America Vote Act is to help Americans cast votes and ensure those votes count and are not diluted," Van Hollen said in a statement. "That purpose can only have effect if the law is carried out. The federal appellate court's decision plainly reinforces the arguments we've made in this case: HAVA requires database matching, known as HAVA checks, to enable election officials to verify the accuracy of voter information. The federal appellate court decision also says that a HAVA-check will not prevent a single voter from casting a ballot in the November election.' Instead, as I've been saying for some time, the law protects the rights of voters."


"Whether through bringing actions to enforce the proper administration of election law, as in this case, or by going after those who commit electoral fraud, as in the criminal case I filed yesterday against an individual alleged to have submitted 54 false voter registrations, I am committed to doing what I can as Attorney General to make sure our election laws protecting the right to vote are followed," Van Hollen said.


A copy of the Sixth Circuit's en banc decision in Ohio Republican Party v. Brunner can be accessed at


Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County Curcuit Court will hear the Government Accountability Board's and the Defendant-Intervenors' motions to dismiss at 8:30 a.m. on October 23, 2008. Up to date docket information for Van Hollen v. Government Accountability Board is available through Wisconsin Circuit Court Access, at


Information about the Elections Fraud Task Force Van Hollen established with Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm and the criminal case Van Hollen's office filed yesterday against Frank Walton is available. Frank Walton has not been convicted of the felony electoral fraud charges he now faces. The public is reminded that individuals charged with crimes are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, and that the state bears the burden of proof at trial.


2008 file: