On the same day that she presided over the very “solemn,” and entirely partisan, impeachment proceedings against President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was smacked with a “pants on fire” rating for her claim about what she declared an “alarming” development in Wisconsin.
“It’s beyond alarming that more than 200,000 registered Wisconsin voters will be prohibited from voting,” Pelosi tweeted Tuesday. “Less than a year from the election, we must ensure [Wisconsin Democrats] have the resources to respond with a massive voter registration effort. Don’t agonize. Organize!”
In the post, Pelosi links to another tweet laying out the Wisconsin Democrats’ “plan to deal with the WI voter purge” that conveniently links to their fundraising page:
It’s beyond alarming that more than 200,000 registered Wisconsin voters will be prohibited from voting.
Less than a year from the election, we must ensure @WisDems have the resources to respond with a massive voter registration effort.
Don’t agonize. Organize! 👇 https://t.co/pTZPttXf6B
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) December 17, 2019
Pelosi’s alarmist tweet continues a theme increasingly pushed by Democrats over the last year: that Republicans are somehow blocking Democrats from voting. Among the more vocal promoters of this claim is failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who still insists that she is the true winner of Georgia’s 2018 election.
The only problem with Pelosi’s message, as PolitiFact explains, is that it’s false. Before delivering its “pants on fire” worst rating, the left-leaning fact-checker provides some context for her tweet about Wisconsin, which Trump won in 2016 by 23,000 votes (formatting adjusted):
The controversy began in October 2019 when the Wisconsin Elections Commission sent letters to 234,000 voters it believed may have moved because of information it received from the post office, Division of Motor Vehicles or other government entities. That’s 7% of the 3.3. million registered voters in the state. The letters asked recipients to re-register at their new address if they had moved or to confirm they were still at their same address if they hadn’t.
So what has the Democrats calling foul? Slightly more of the mailings appear to have gone to municipalities won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 than those won by Trump, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finding that 55% went to Democrat-majority municipalities.
[A]s of Dec. 5, 2019, the Elections Commission said 2,300 recipients had responded to the letter to report they still lived at the same address. By that point, 16,500 recipients had also registered to vote at new addresses, and 60,000 letters had been returned as undeliverable.
But a lawsuit brought in November by three voters with the help of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty argued election officials were required to remove voters from the rolls 30 days after sending the letters if they hadn’t heard from them. On Dec. 13, 2019, an Ozaukee County judge ruled those people should be removed immediately. Four days later, Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed notice the state would appeal and seek to stay the judge’s ruling. The same day, the left-leaning League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed suit in federal court to try to stop voter names from being purged.
So are “more than 200,000 registered Wisconsin voters prohibited from voting”? Not at all, as PolitiFact underscores.
“[A]nyone in this group has multiple opportunities to regain their status as registered voters,” the fact-checkers point out. “Voters who are removed from the rolls — correctly or not — can re-register online, at their clerk’s office or even at the polls on Election Day,” as Wisconsin allows election day registration.
Pelosi’s claim is a “major overstatement” about how the cleaning up of voter registrations works and her use of “prohibited” clearly goes “too far,” the fact-checker concludes.
Below is PolitiFact’s description of its six levels of ratings for its “Truth-O-Meter”:
TRUE – The statement is accurate and there’s nothing significant missing.
MOSTLY TRUE – The statement is accurate but needs clarification or additional information.
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
MOSTLY FALSE – The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.
FALSE – The statement is not accurate.
PANTS ON FIRE – The statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.