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Wisconsin judge orders up to 209K voter names be deleted from rolls

Republicans want to be sure those who have moved don't vote using an old in-state address, Democrats say these removals could unfairly affect voters of color.

A Wisconsin judge has ordered the state's elections commission to immediately begin removing up to 209,000 names from the state's voter rolls or face hundreds of dollars in fines for every day they don't. 

Judge Paul Malloy said in his ruling Monday that "time is of the essence in this case" and cannot wait for the state Supreme Court to decide the case. The state Justice Department asked Malloy to stay his order of contempt pending an appeal of his ruling, but the judge denied the request.

“I cannot be clearer on this. They need to follow the order,” Malloy was quoted in the Associated Press as saying.

Democrats are saying the removal of the names would unfairly affect voting for them, but Republicans are saying they want to make sure that people who have moved can't vote using their old addresses. Wisconsin is a battleground state where Donald Trump won by less than 23,000 votes back in 2016, the Associated Press reports

Dozens stood outside of the courthouse Monday, before the hearing, to protest the voter names purge, saying the decision would unfairly affect voters of color. 

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The Associated Press reports that those who brought the lawsuit about say the state election commission, made up of Republicans and Democrats in equal parts, should have removed the voter names who had moved from those voter name rolls. According to them, the law was broken in not doing so. The commission didn't remove the names after the residents who might have moved didn't respond within 30 days to an October mailing. They wanted to wait until after the November 2020 presidential election citing inaccuracies from previous data that identified voters who had possibly moved.