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Wisconsin election officials deadlocked

MADISON, Wis. (AP) The Wisconsin Elections Commission deadlocked Monday on whether to comply with a judge’s order to remove anywhere from 144,000 to more than 200,000 names from the state’s voter rolls before a higher court can weigh in — a move that could influence the outcome of next year’s presidential election in the key swing state.

The commission’s three Republicans wanted to remove the voters in question from the rolls but were blocked by the panel’s three Democrats.

The affected voters are in heavily Democratic areas of Wisconsin, a battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016.

The judge ruled in favor of a conservative law firm that sued to strike the names from the rolls immediately, ordering the Elections Commission to immediately deactivate the voter registrations of people who were sent a 2019 movers mailing and either did not respond or whose letter was returned as undeliverable.

Election officials said they initially sent letters to about 234,000 voters but later lowered that number to about 232,500. More recently, they were given a new estimate that a smaller number of voters, about 144,000, could be in jeopardy of being taken off the rolls.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has asked a state Appeals Court to put the judge’s ruling on hold.

In a statement, the Wisconsin Elections Commission said it did not pass any motion directing staff to take action on the movers mailing list and will await further direction from the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

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