Wisconsin court establishes potential delay in absentee ballot mailing


MADISON, Wis. – The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday ordered a stay in the mail of absentee ballots until it goes ahead or makes a ruling regarding any future decisions that would be on the ballot in the critical battlefield Should be

The order creates confusion for those requesting to file before the state deadline for confusion ballots a week before voting in Wisconsin. Voting in the state shows a tight race between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Local election clerks raised an alarm about what temporary delays in the process would mean.

“It’s a potentially huge disaster,” said Dane County Clerk Scott McDonnell. “Just the delay of a decision is deeply irresponsible and endangers the integrity of our election.”

In Madison alone, there were 100,000 requests for absentee ballots on file and election staff planned to make them work all weekend at weekends, he said. If the court orders a change of ballot, Dane County will have to print, package, sort and deliver 500,000 new ballots.

The lawsuit was filed by the ruling Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins, who asked the state’s Supreme Court to challenge the Wisconsin Election Commission decision. Hawkins submitted the appropriate paperwork in August.

Rapper Kanye West, in a separate case, is trying to go to the ballot after being voted 5-1 by the commission that his nomination papers were too late. West argues that his papers, which are accepted after the 5 pm deadline, meet the requirements of placing them on the ballot. A Brown County judge said he was expected to rule in the days of West’s trial, which could further delay the mailing of ballots.

Whether West and Hawkins are allowed on the ballot could have a significant impact in razor-pass Wisconsin. The 2016 presidential candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party garnered 31,006 votes in the state, exceeding Trump’s 22,177-vote margin over Hillary Clinton.

The state’s Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision on ideological grounds, said that for now no ballot can be sent. Municipal election clerks face a September 17 deadline to mail absentee ballots to anyone who requested them. There is also a federal September 19 deadline for mailing voters overseas and in the military. As of Thursday, nearly 1 million absentee ballots were requested in Wisconsin.

While September 17 is the deadline for clerks to mail absentee ballots, those who already have a request on file, anyone who requests it later will still be sent a ballot. October 29 is the deadline for most voters to request a ballot by post. Returned ballots must be received by election time around 8 pm on Election Day.

Wisconsin election commissioner Megan Wolfe said just before a court order Thursday that some clerks may have already mailed ballots without West and Hawkins’ names. If West or Hawkins end up on the ballot, clerks are likely to send voters a new ballot, Wolff said. He said voters are also likely to receive instructions that their first ballot will still be counted unless they match in the second.

That scenario is “incredibly problematic”, Wolff said.

The High Court asked the Election Commission to provide detailed information by 5 pm on Thursday, requesting absentee voting, regardless of whom it was sent by post, when and to what address. had gone.

Wolf’s filing in the deadline showed that local clerks marked around 380,000 ballots. She stated that she could not personally pledge that the information was true, but.

For example, the spreadsheet shows that the city of Madison has marked approximately 77,000 ballots. City clerk Maribeth Wittel-Bahl said that everything is ready after the court’s ruling in the city, but has spoiled things and has yet to put anything in the mail.

Commission spokesman Reid Magne said the city has marked that the commission cannot differentiate between what many ballots have been sent in the statewide voter registration system and what is actually sent. He said Madison officials decided to mark a ballot on the date the mailing label was generated.

Wolff said the commission received responses on 63 of the 72 counties, but only 25 municipalities. He gave the court the names and addresses of about 100 voters who requested ballots.

The three liberal judges of the court said, “Given the information requested and the minimum time allotted to obtain it (the court) is asking the impossibility of about 1,850 municipal clerks throughout our state.”

Gillian Drummond, a spokesman for the state Department of Justice, who was representing the Election Commission, declined to comment. Hawkins’ attorney did not immediately return a message.

Election officials are urging voters to return their ballots at the earliest as there was concern with slow postal delivery and the expected unprecedented number of absentee ballots. State election officials have estimated that approximately 2 million of the state’s more than 3 million eligible voters will vote absentee ballots, largely because of concerns about the coronovirus epidemic.

There are over 170 lawsuits nationally over election procedures, often filed by two major parties or their allies, which have injected a new level of uncertainty into an already disrupted epidemic. Attempts by third parties to get on the ballot in other states such as Arizona, Pennsylvania and Virginia by candidates such as the Greens or West have also been prosecuted.