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LWV Wisconsin Calls for Clarity on Absentee Ballot Signature Requirements Ahead of April 7 Primary

Court extends absentee ballot request deadline through 5 pm, Friday, April 3 

Madison, WI – Thursday, a Wisconsin district court judge granted partial relief to protect the rights of self-quarantining voters who do not live with another adult U.S. citizen, and as a result cannot obtain a witness signature on their mail-in ballot, as required under Wisconsin law. Under the court’s order, voters who provide a written affirmation or other statement that they were unable to safely obtain a witness certification despite reasonable efforts to do so must have their mail-in ballots counted, as long as the ballots are otherwise valid. 

“The court’s decision does highlight the importance of offering some relief around the witness signature requirement, but unfortunately the decision creates more questions than answers for voters at this time,” said Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “It is critical for the Wisconsin Election Commission to provide clarity on what actions absentee voters need to take to ensure their ballot is deemed valid.”

The court’s ruling extends the deadline to request an absentee ballot. Voters who plan to vote by mail must submit their request for an absentee ballot by April 3, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Ballots must be returned by April 13, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. All voters are encouraged to visit https://elections.wi.gov/node/6807 for applicable rules and guidance.

Given that the case has been appealed by other plaintiffs, the League and partners call upon the Wisconsin Elections Commission to provide concrete guidance on this court’s order at the earliest possible moment, so that voters have clear rules to cast their ballots in a timely manner.

The League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and partners are represented in this case by Fair Elections Center and Rathje Woodward LLC in Madison.

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Contact: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]