Absentee Witness Signature Requirement Guidance COVID-19

Date

Over the last week WEC staff and clerks have been contacted by many voters who are concerned about how they will fulfill the absentee ballot witness requirement when voting by mail.  Below please find an outline of the requirement, concerns considered, and a proposed process.  This process was developed by WEC staff in consultation with a public health official.  Please use this guidance to assist voters with how they can engage a witness for their absentee ballot in a way that helps to keep the voter, witness, and clerk safe.  

Overview

Curbside Voting, Drive-Through Voting and Outdoor Polling Places COVID-19

Date

Commission staff has received many inquiries from municipal clerks regarding the legality and feasibility of conducting voting on Election Day using only “curbside voting” as set forth in Wis. Stat. § 6.82(1), allowing individuals to “drive-through” vote or move polling places outside of the traditional building to allow for more social distancing for voters and inspectors.

Guidance for Indefinitely Confined Electors COVID-19

Date

Due to the continuing spread of COVID-19, staff of the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) has received numerous inquiries regarding the application of the indefinitely confined designation for absentee voters under Wisconsin Statutes.  At its meeting of March 27, 2020, the Commission discussed this issue and adopted the following guidance related to the use of indefinitely confined status to assist local election officials working with absentee voters:  

Election Official Training Resources COVID-19

Date

Clerks who are seeking to train chief inspectors and poll workers in the short period of time before the April 7, 2020 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary have a variety of topical online and updated training resources available to them.  We suggest clerks train their election workers using the online training resources detailed in this communication based on the tasks they will be performing at the polls on Election Day.  

Training Requirements

Emergency Order #12 Does Not Eliminate In-Person Absentee Voting - COVID-19

Date

As you may know, this afternoon the Governor and the Department of Health Services issued Emergency Order #12 entitled “Safer at Home Order” related to public and private activity permitted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) has received several inquiries as to whether the order requires the termination of in-person absentee voting for the Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary.  The short answer is no, the Order does not require or authorize municipalities to terminate in-person absentee voting.