The decision, which came a day after three Democratic election commissioners were held in contempt for failing to remove thousands of names from the state voting rolls, was a victory for liberal groups.
A judge ruled last month that voters who did not respond to letters from election officials and were believed to have moved should be dropped from the rolls, and the debate has drawn close attention in a narrowly split state where strategists in both parties view every last vote as essential. President Donald Trump, who planned to campaign Tuesday in Milwaukee, carried the state by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016.
It was uncertain how many of the 200,000 voters might have been disenfranchised in the coming election. Many of those voters were believed to have moved, and voters can register on Election Day in Wisconsin.
A conservative law group that brought the lawsuit seeking to remove names from the rolls said it was necessary to ensure election integrity and have accurate voter lists. Liberal groups called it an effort to exclude and confuse voters who were likely to support Democrats.
News of the stay spread Tuesday morning during a meeting of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, which had been split 3-3 on partisan lines on whether to carry out the purge.
The commissioners were meeting with their lawyers in a closed session when news of the stay was reported by The Associated Press.
A day earlier, the commission was held in contempt of court by the state court judge who had ordered the purge. The three Democratic commissioners were individually held in contempt and fined $250 per day. The appellate court issued a stay of both the order to purge voters and the contempt finding while it continued to consider the lawsuit.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times .