Wisconsin Supreme Court Delays Mailing of Absentee Ballots

September 11, 2020 by Dan McCue
Vote-by-mail ballots are shown in sorting trays at the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Wash., south of Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has temporarily delayed the mailing of absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 election as it considers whether to order the addition of the Green Party presidential ticket.

The 4-3 decision in which all of the liberal-backed justices dissented, has the potential to create real headaches for the local board of elections.

The order by the court comes just a week before the state-imposed Sept. 17 deadline to send out requested absentee ballots to registered voters.

The conservative majority on the court also asked the Wisconsin Elections Commission to provide it with information on whether any ballots have already been mailed out, and if so, to whom — no easy task in a decentralized elections system that includes 72 counties and 1,850 municipalities.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who dissented from the ruling, said the court had given the election commission an impractical task.

“Given the breadth of the information requested and the minimal time allotted to obtain it, I fear that the majority of this court is asking the impossible of our approximately 1,850 municipal clerks throughout the state,” Bradley wrote.

Many clerks have already printed ballots in anticipation of a surge in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So far it is believed at least 2.3 million ballots were printed before the court issued its order, and at least 378,482 have already been sent out.

Many more jurisdictions were expected to send out ballots this weekend.

The underlying case was brought by Howie Hawkins, the Green Party’s 2020 presidential candidate.

He and his running mate, Angela Walker, were kept off the ballot due to allegations that Walker listed an incorrect address on thousands of her nominating petitions. With that challenge to her signatures, she fell below the threshold to secure a spot on the ballot.

The Green Party appealed that decision, but in August the Elections Commission split 3-3 on the question of adding them to the ballot, handing the decision to the court.

Meagan Wolfe, the state’s chief elections official, said on a press call, that it would be “incredibly complicated and difficult” if the court ultimately orders the ballots to be changed.

“This is potentially a huge disaster,” Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell agreed, telling the Associated Press that “just the delay of a decision is deeply irresponsible and jeopardizes the integrity of our election.”

The situation is also raising eyebrows among political observers who are well aware of Wisconsin being a battleground state and just how close elections can be in the state.

Democrats are also smarting at the fact the Green Party is litigating the lawsuit, because of the role they believe the Greens played in Donald Trump’s victory in the state in 2016.

That year Green Party candidate Jill Stein received just over 31,000 votes, and Trump bested Democrat Hillary Clinton by a margin of less than 23,000.

State News

California Oil Spill Renews Calls to Ban Offshore Drilling

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has been a leader in restricting offshore oil drilling since the infamous 1969 Santa Barbara spill that sparked the modern environmental movement, and the latest spill off Huntington Beach is prompting fresh calls for an end to such drilling. That's easier... Read More

September 14, 2021
by Victoria Turner
State and Local Governments Will Drive Broadband Deployment Success

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed... Read More

States will be at the helm of the $42.5 billion in block grants designated in the historic $65 billion proposed for nationwide high-speed broadband within President Biden’s infrastructure bill.  The broadband-related funding of the bill itself shows the federal government recognizes broadband as essential as a... Read More

April 22, 2021
by TWN Staff
New Caucus Aims to Bring Main Street Priorities to Capitol Hill

Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that... Read More

Eighteen members of Congress on Wednesday announced the formation of a new Congressional Caucus whose intent is to ensure that the priorities and concerns of cities and counties across America are heard on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan Congressional Caucus of Former Local Elected Officials was formed... Read More

April 16, 2021
by TWN Staff
35 States at Extreme Risk of Partisan Gerrymandering

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs... Read More

Thirty-five states are at extreme or high risk of partisan gerrymandering, according to an in-depth report by the nonpartisan RepresentUs organization. The Gerrymandering Threat Index rates all 50 states, and its authors argue their findings underscore the urgent need to pass the redistricting reforms within the... Read More

Plan Afoot to Extend PPP Deadline to May 31

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House... Read More

WASHINGTON - A bipartisan bill to extend the Paycheck Protection Program to May 31 is gaining support in the House and the Senate and will likely be voted on before lawmakers head back to their districts at the end of the month. The proposal to extend... Read More

March 2, 2021
by TWN Staff
Cherry Blossom Peak Bloom Date Announced

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the... Read More

WASHINGTON - It’s hard to believe it’s almost that time of year again, but on Monday came word that the peak bloom for the cherry blossoms ringing the Tidal Basin in Washington is currently expected to occur April 2-5.  That means the most vivid of blooms... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version