The Republican Party of Wisconsin filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing lawsuit over voter registration checks Monday, two days before the next court date.
In the lawsuit filed by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen against the Government Accountability Board concerning voter registration checks, several parties have shown interest in joining the battle.
The lawsuit began when Van Hollen sued the Government Accountability Board after they decided not to check new voter registrations between Jan. 1, 2006, and Aug. 6, 2008, as required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
The next court date will take place Wednesday, where Judge Maryann Sumi will decide on the motion to disqualify Van Hollen from the case, as well as all the motions to intervene, which now total four.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a motion to intervene at the beginning of the lawsuit. Madison Teacher’s Inc., along with Madison Firefighters, has also shown interest. Now the RPW is hoping to get their voice in the courtroom as well.
“I did have to chuckle about it because I thought they were already being represented by the attorney general,” DPW Chair Joe Wineke said. “They didn’t seem to think it made a lot of sense for us to get involved, but now they want to get involved because we have exposed the attorney general to a very partisan plot to disenfranchise voters.”
Due to his position as co-chair of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Wisconsin campaign, Van Hollen’s lawsuit has been at the center of controversy, which DPW and other groups claim is a partisan effort to disenfranchise Democratic voters.
Lester Pines, attorney for the Government Accountability Board, has also been involved in partisan politics, as he and his wife held outreach events in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in August.
Despite the almost partisan nature of this case, the state Department of Justice has refused to accept any intervention, including the RPW, saying it would slow down the process.
“We’ve already submitted a brief to intervention, and that includes the Republican Party of Wisconsin,” said William Cosh, DOJ spokesperson. “We believe all parties to lawsuit are well represented on both sides. Because there is some urgency to this, our concern is that intervention would slow things down.”
The urgency in this case comes from the November elections being only 42 days away. Should Van Hollen win the lawsuit, new voters registered between Jan. 1, 2006, and Aug. 6, 2008, would be checked before they vote Nov. 4.
While the Department of Justice is against the intervention of any party, the DPW is willing to accept the RPW in the lawsuit as another competitor.
“If they want to join, that’s fine, but I hope they assume we have a right then, too,” Wineke said.
Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Monday.