Appeals Court Puts Brakes On Immediate Voter Purge In Wisconsin

on August 14, 2018 in Janesville, Wisconsin.
JANESVILLE, WI - AUGUST 14: A sign marks the location of a polling place on August 14, 2018 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters cast ballots in primary races today to pick challengers for Republican Governor S... JANESVILLE, WI - AUGUST 14: A sign marks the location of a polling place on August 14, 2018 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Wisconsin voters cast ballots in primary races today to pick challengers for Republican Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and to choose a replacement for retiring Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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January 14, 2020 12:32 p.m.

An appeals court ordered a freeze Tuesday on a purge of more than 200,000 people from the voting rolls in Wisconsin, contradicting a circuit court judge who held the Elections Commission in contempt Monday for not removing the voters immediately.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a judge in a separate order also blocked Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy’s contempt finding, saving the commission and particularly three of its Democratic members from having to pay daily fines.

The Commission, consisting of three Democrats and three Republicans, also met in a private session Tuesday to discuss next steps. The group has been deadlocked over the purge.

The state Supreme Court is also at an impasse over the issue, leaving the appeals court to hand down a decision.

The fight started in October when the Commission notified over 200,000 people to ask if they’d changed addresses. Voters who failed to respond would be removed from the rolls in 2021.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit demanding that the nonresponsive voters be removed before the 2020 election. Malloy agreed with the lawsuit and ordered that the voters be purged. Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul asked the District 4 Court of Appeals in Madison to review the case after Malloy’s ruling.

The voting advocacy group League of Women Voters also filed a lawsuit in federal court to try to keep voters on the rolls.

The situation has attracted close scrutiny, as President Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes. If voters are ultimately removed from the polls, they can re-register at https://myvote.wi.gov/en-us/, at their clerk’s office or at the polls on Election Day.

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