Wisconsin court blocks purging of more than 200,000 voters from rolls

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A Wisconsin state court of appeals on Tuesday put on hold a ruling requiring the urgent removal of more than 200,000 names from the state’s voter rolls, the latest twist in a closely watched legal fight playing out in the battleground state ahead of the 2020 election.

The ruling comes after a lower court judge last month ordered the purging of roughly 234,000 people from voter rolls because they may have moved, and a day after the state’s elections commission and several of its members were found in contempt of court for not complying with the removal order.

The latest development represented a win for Democrats in a state that may help decide the 2020 contest, and which President Trump won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.

The lawsuit challenging the rolls was brought by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty on behalf of several Wisconsin voters. The group claims the state elections commission should have immediately deactivated voters who didn’t respond within 30 days to a mailing sent in October, an indication that the person may have moved, say the litigants.

Judge Paul Malloy last month sided with the conservative group and declined a request by the state elections commission to halt the purge while the case plays out in court.

The order on Tuesday to pause the lower court ruling came from a three-judge panel in the fourth district of the state appeals court.

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