The Wisconsin Elections Commission today directed that municipal clerks shall not send Special Voting Deputies (SVDs) into care facilities for the remaining elections in 2020. The Commission directed that local election officials shall instead mail an absentee ballot to those registered voters who reside in care facilities that are typically served by SVDs if they request an absentee ballot or have an active request on file. Therefore, if you have voters who reside in an SVD facility with an active request on file, you should prepare to mail them a ballot for the August 11 election. Clerks should not attempt to send SVDs into care facilities and should instead fulfill these absentee requests by mail. In regard to the prohibition on sending SVDs to care facilities, the Commission’s motion and guidance is the same for the remaining 2020 elections as it was for the April 7, 2020 election.
Additional information including FAQs and a letter that you can use to reach out to care facilities in your jurisdiction will be posted with this memo later this week.
Wis. Stat. § 6.875 outlines the process for voting by special voting deputy. SVDs are individuals who are deputized by the clerk of each municipality to not only bring enough ballots to each residential care facility to vote, but to assist the voters with the voting process.
For the April 7, 2020 Presidential Preference and Spring Election and May 12, 2020 special election, the Commission determined at its March 12 special meeting that special voting deputies fell under the definition of “non-essential” individuals who are prohibited from visiting nursing homes and other care facilities due to the COVID-19 public health emergency declared by Governor Evers in Executive Order #72.
The Governor’s public health order is no longer in effect, but the state and federal agencies that regulate nursing homes and care facilities have issued guidance that non-essential visitors to these facilities, such as SVDs, should be restricted. Therefore, the Commission directed that clerks should not send SVDs into care facilities for the August or November election and should instead mail absentee ballots to residents who request them.
- Clerks should not send Special Voting Deputies (SVDs) to care facilities to conduct voting with residents.
- Clerks should send absentee ballots, by mail, to care facility residents who request them or residents with active requests on file.
- The regular rules for absentee voting by mail will apply to ballots sent by mail to care facility voters.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected] or call the Help Desk at (608) 261-2028 with any questions or concerns that you may have.