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Outagamie County files emergency petition seeking absentee ballot misprint remedy

As Action 2 News reported a week ago, a “technical ballot misprint” was said to likely delay the counting of some absentee ballots in Outagamie County according to the clerk.
A small tear in the ballot will cause it to be rejected.
A small tear in the ballot will cause it to be rejected.(WBAY)
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:27 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Outagamie County has filed an emergency petition seeking declaratory relief regarding defective ballots.

As Action 2 News reported a week ago, a “technical ballot misprint” was said to likely delay the counting of some absentee ballots in Outagamie County according to the clerk. The county said its asking the court to rule on the appropriate remedy and said while it has been working with the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the municipal attorneys, their positions are diverging.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE EMERGENCY PETITION

The 32-page petition states the county and the municipalities believe they need to have the court declare the most protective remedy for this issue. The counties (including Outagamie and Calumet Countries) believe they should comply with statutory duplication requirements under Wis. Stat. §5.85. Outagamie County said the Municipalities are hoping to have the most practical and efficient remedy of filing in the timing mark.

The county has updated information as well as frequently asked questions. Click here for more.

Either way, both seeking address this issue proactively and hoping the Court can provide declaratory relief regarding the rights and responsibilities of both the counties and the municipalities.

In the original report (CLICK HERE FOR THAT REPORT), Clerk Lori O’Bright said the misprint is “a scratch no wider than a fingernail on a timing mark at the edge of the ballot.” O’Bright said the error will not impact contests, candidates or referendums. However, this misprint will cause a machine error and the ballot to be rejected. The county has chosen to duplicate those ballots that are rejected due to the misprint. They said voters will not have to take additional actions. According to Outagamie County Deputy Corporation Counsel, Kyle Sargent, the duplicate ballot solution is in line with state elections law. He said, “That process consists of an election inspector, actually election inspectors, transferring the votes from the unreadable ballot to a readable ballot which can then be processed by the tabulation device.”

In total, 24,600 ballots had the misprint. The county pulled as many as possible, but some were mailed out. They’re still working to determine how many of those ballots went out to voters.

Stay tuned with Action 2 News as we update this story throughout the day today.

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