A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday that sought to force a redesign of Wisconsin ballots just six weeks before the Nov. 4 election, saying the complaint first should have been filed with the state elections board. Republican legislative leaders argued in the lawsuit filed last week that the model ballot is confusing, gives undue prominence to Democratic candidates and makes it hard to tell which office candidates are seeking. They asked a judge to force the Government Accountability Board to redesign the ballots, a move that elections officials dismissed as costly and not practical so close to the election.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge James Kieffer, following a 30-minute hearing, sided with the GAB and said the law requires that such complaints first go through that panel that oversees elections. The judge also said the campaign committees for state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, both Republicans, did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. Such a lawsuit needs to come from an actual voter, Kieffer said.
The attorney for the Republicans, Joseph Olson, said he didn’t know if the judge’s decision would be appealed or if the complaint would be refiled with the GAB.
Kevin Kennedy, director of the GAB, attended the hearing and said afterward that he was pleased with the quick dismissal of the case.