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Federal judge denies election suit by Green Bay

The Brillion News

GREEN BAY - U.S. District Court Judge William Griesbach turned back a lawsuit filed by the Green Bay city clerk and mayor seeking a declaration to allow them to suspend the April 7 general election.

The Green Bay officials wanted the federal court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin to cancel the April 7 election and allow the city of conduct the election by mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters.

Judge Griesbach noted that the suit essentially asked that Green Bay be allowed to sue the State of Wisconsin - something Griesbach said is not allowed in federal courts, because the city is a part of the state.

In the end, that was the problem. In his concluding comments, Judge Griesbach said the case was dismissed because the federal court lacked jurisdiction.

"The court's decision is not intended to minimize the serious difficulties the City and its officials are facing in attempting to conduct the upcoming election," he wrote. "The court is saying only that the City and its mayor are not the proper parties to bring such a claim in federal court."

The last say may belong to a federal court in the Western District of Wisconsin. Judge Griesbach said that a group of voters have filed a similar action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin - and they have the standing to do that as private citizens.

"Assuming the plaintiffs in that case have standing, that court will presumably be called upon to decide the important questions ... raised here."

~ Ed Byrne/BN


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