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PNS Daily Newscast - September 30, 2020 


Trump and Biden square off in a debate marked by interruptions; COVID-19 highlights neglect of undocumented residents.


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Last night was filled with interruptions at the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

WI Supreme Court to Hear Controversial 'Voter Purge' Case

The so-called "voter purge" case in Wisconsin is being watched nationally because the state is considered a toss-up in the presidential election. (Adobe Stock)
The so-called "voter purge" case in Wisconsin is being watched nationally because the state is considered a toss-up in the presidential election. (Adobe Stock)
June 2, 2020

MADISON, Wis. -- The issue of whether nearly 130,000 Wisconsin residents should be removed from the voter rolls has resurfaced, as the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.

The controversy arose after state election officials sent letters to residents who had possibly moved, to confirm whether they had a new address. Election Commission policy gives recipients until 2021 to respond or risk losing their voter registration status. But a conservative group took legal action, claiming the response window should only be 30 days.

Bruce Colburn is executive director of Souls to the Polls-Milwaukee, a voting-rights group. He said this type of action has had a negative impact on voters in the past.

"Many examples where they had the wrong information about the person, where the information was that the person had moved within the area, which means that they shouldn't be purged," Colburn said.

Colburn accused the conservative-leaning court of taking an overtly political stance in a state where President Donald Trump narrowly defeated Hilary Clinton in 2016.

In a split-vote this year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court had declined to hear the case. Supporters of the shorter response window say it could prevent voter fraud, and their argument is backed by state law, not the commission's policy.

Colburn said the timing is especially troubling for minority voters, who have consistently encountered access issues in elections.

"In the central city, again, where there's confusion sometimes over dates and where people are living and that sort of thing; so, again, it always goes to the people who have the least ability to defend themselves," he said.

The court has scheduled a 60-day window to hear arguments in the case. It's unclear yet whether the high court will make a decision before the November election.

Support for this reporting comes from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - WI