Wisconsin Elections Commission addresses absentee ballot issues

Published: Apr. 6, 2020 at 6:19 PM CDT
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Before Monday's back-and-forth in Madison, voters were already experiencing another problem in regards to the election: getting a hold of an absentee ballot.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers couldn't postpone the state's presidential primary, striking down his order to move the election to June over coronavirus outbreak fears.

The court ruled 4-2 that Evers lacked the authority to move the election on its own, which means the election will happen as originally scheduled on Tuesday.

Later on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a plan to extend absentee voting in Wisconsin's spring primary by six days because of the coronavirus, which means absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, April 7, and anyone who requested an absentee ballot but didn't receive it by Tuesday will need to vote in person.

The U.S. Supreme Court split 5-4, with the five Republican-appointed justices siding with the national and state party to overturn a lower court ruling that expanded absentee voting.

"The clerks are dealing with absentee requests at a volume they've never experienced," says Meagan Wolfe, the Wisconsin Election Commission Administrator.

Wolfe says more than a million absentee ballot requests have been requested - a high volume she believes could account for some delays.

"We, like you, have heard of people that are experiencing delays in receiving their ballots. We know that the postal service has advised that mail can take up to a week to be received by the voter or by the clerk on either side of the process," says Wolfe.

However, Action 2 News has heard from viewers who reached out to us, who say it has been weeks since they requested a ballot.

"We're not aware of any widespread issues wither in the statewide system or in the postal service that's affecting one place in particular," says Wolfe.

However, she is certain that for those who are experiencing long delays, it isn't Wisconsin Elections Commission systems causing an issue.

"I actually have spent a great deal of time myself and had our whole staff analyzing the system to ensure there aren't any delays caused by the My Vote system, or the WIS vote system, and we feel very confident that there's no delays being caused on our side," says Wolfe.

Wolfe adds she suggests people who are experiencing delays to contact their municipal clerk, or use Wisconsin's My Vote website to check the exact status of your ballot.

to check the status of your ballot.

She says they don't have the ability to determine the deadlines, but they try to implement solutions or overcome any challenge voters may face.

"I think patience is key. I think we all owe each other a little extra kindness through this process to make sure that we're working through these changes together," says Wolfe.

She also suggests people drop ballots off at their clerk's office, adding that many municipalities have drop boxes where voters could place their ballots.

If you're an Oshkosh voter and you haven't received an absentee ballot that you requested yet, the Oshkosh City Manager says you should try to vote in person so your vote can be counted.

"What we're suggesting is you give our City Clerk's office a call, and they can identify you as somebody who requested an absentee ballot, hasn't received it, and we will free up your name so you can show up at the polling place Tuesday," says Mark Rohloff, the Oshkosh City Manager.

to check the status of your absentee ballot.

You can watch the full, uncut interview above.