(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s election managers say as long as there is a house number and a street name, absentee voting witness slips don’t need a city, the state, a zip code or anything else.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission clarified the rule for absentee ballot witnesses address information.
The commission told clerks to error on the side of counting ballots and issued five specific clarifications as to when ballots are not to be rejected.
An absentee ballot may not be rejected if:
The witness’s street number, street name, and municipality are present, but there is neither a state name nor a ZIP code provided;The witness’s street number, street name, and ZIP code are present, but there is neither a municipality nor a state name provided;The witness’s street number and street name are present and match the street number and street name of the voter, but no other address information is provided;The witness certification indicates that the witness address is the same as the voter’s address with any or any combination of the following words: “same,” “same address, “same as voter,” “same as above,” “see above,” “ditto,” or by using quotation marks and/or an arrow or line pointing to or from the voter address.”
The clarifications come after a Dane County judge struck down Wisconsin’s law on absentee ballot addresses, saying the law was inconsistent.
That judge told the Elections Commission to instruct local election clerks how to handle absentee ballot witness slips that are missing part of the witnesses’ address.
Republicans said the judge’s ruling opened-up another opportunity for fraud.
State Rep. Dave Maxey, R-New Berlin, said it again.
“I am deeply concerned about the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s decision to issue guidance on incomplete witness addresses on absentee ballot certificates,” Maxey said. “The Commission had two clear options: either pass an emergency rule for the normal legislative process or listen to an appointed judge in Dane County. Unfortunately, they chose to sidestep the legislative process by issuing guidance.”
Maxey said lawmakers could have clarified the law, and the Elections Commission could have clarified the absentee ballot envelope. But he said the Commission chose to go its own way.
“I hope the Commission decides to reconsider its actions and uphold the integrity of our electoral process,” Maxey added. “I’m very disappointed the commission doesn’t take election integrity as seriously as the people of Wisconsin.”