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Wisconsin court overturns ruling ordering voter purge

MADISON — A Wisconsin appeals court on Friday overturned a ruling that ordered the removal of up to 209,000 people from the state’s voter rolls.

The court last month put the ruling, and the purge, on hold while it considered the case. The 4th District Court of Appeals ruling overturned the decision of an Ozaukee County judge who had initially ruled in favor of a conservative law firm that was seeking the purge.

The appeals court also vacated an order from that same judge that found the state Elections Commission in contempt for not moving forward with the purge.

The appeals court sent the case back to the lower court and ordered that it be dismissed.

The case has received a lot of attention because Wisconsin is among a group of swing states being targeted by Democrats and President Donald Trump this year. Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 by fewer than 23,000 votes, putting even more of a focus on every voter in the state.

The voter purge lawsuit argued that the state elections commission broke the law when it did not remove voters from the rolls who did not respond within 30 days to a mailing in October indicating they may have moved. The commission wanted to wait until after the November 2020 presidential election before removing anyone because of inaccuracies found while previously attempting to identify voters who may have moved.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission released the following statement on the decision:

“We appreciate the Court of Appeals decision and will move forward with the process approved by the members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission in June 2019 for handling mailings sent to potential movers.”

“The important thing for voters to know is that if you have moved, you need to be registered at your current address before you can vote. Eligible, registered voters who have not moved (or legally changed their names) can vote without having to reregister, even if we sent you a movers mailing in 2019.”

“No voters have been deactivated if they did not respond to the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s mailing in October 2019 to voters who may have moved. The mailing was to make sure that voters who have moved know how to reregister at their current address and to encourage them to do that before the election or on election day.”

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