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LWV Wisconsin Challenges Witness Signature Requirement for Absentee Ballots

Measure does not allow voters to participate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak

MADISON – Today the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin filed litigation in federal court seeking to protect the rights of self-quarantining voters who cannot safely obtain a witness signature on their mail-in ballot during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“While we appreciate the efforts by the state to expand voting in light of the pandemic, the Wisconsin law requiring a witness signature for every absentee ballot presents an unreasonable barrier to voters that does nothing to increase the safety of casting a ballot,” said Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “Not addressing this particular measure complicates the process for the voters of Wisconsin and would have the impact of depressing turnout or unnecessarily exposing vulnerable voters.”

The League is represented in this lawsuit by Fair Elections Center and Rathje Woodward LLC and is joined by Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans and individuals affected by the law.  

“It is unconscionable – and unconstitutional – to force people to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Jon Sherman, senior counsel at Fair Election Center. “In the face of a global pandemic and emergency orders mandating self-isolation, a state law requirement to obtain a witness signature on a mail-in ballot simply cannot stand.”   

The League and other plaintiffs are asking the Court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction that would prevent the State of Wisconsin from rejecting and/or refusing to process and count absentee mail-in ballots that lack a witness signature during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The scheduled primary on April 7 would not otherwise be impacted.

A copy of the complaint can be found here.

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