URGENT -- Wisconsin Supreme Court Orders Election Day to Continue and U.S. Supreme Court Alters Ballot Receipt Deadline; Tallying and Reporting Results Still Prohibited Until April 13 - COVID-19

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This memorandum summarizes three court decisions which were issued today related to Election Day.

First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court enjoined the Governor’s Executive Order which had postponed the election, meaning that in-person voting will occur at the polls.  County and municipal clerks and election inspectors should continue their election preparations.  

Gov. Evers Order - COVID-19

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The Governor's order was overturned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court later on Monday. The election is going forward.

Municipal and County Clerk Partners,

The Governor just issued an executive order delaying in-person voting for the April 7, 2020 election until June 9.   While the Governor has called for moving the election, we can be certain there will be very fast moving litigation.  The order is at the link and in the text below. 

Federal Court Order Affects Spring Election – Absentee Ballot Request and Receipt Deadlines Extended COVID-19

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UPDATE:  On the evening of April 3 the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order removing the option for an absentee voter to submit a statement indicating they were unable to obtain a witness signature, in lieu of including a witness signature on the certificate envelope.  Therefore, effective immediately, all voters must have a witness signature on their ballot for it to be counted.

Absentee Ballot Return Options - COVID-19

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Due to the increase in by-mail absentee ballots, clerks have inquired about options for ensuring that the maximum number of ballots are returned to be counted for the April 7, 2020 election.  There are several options clerks can use to make ballot return more accessible and efficient. If a municipality chooses to do alternate drop off boxes or locations for ballots it should be publicized to voters where they can go to deliver their ballots.  It’s recommended that clerks also do the best that they are able to publicize drop off locations and options for voters.

Absentee Ballot Processing - COVID-19

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The Commission staff has received many questions from county and municipal clerks regarding absentee ballot processing on Election Day, results reporting and conducting the canvass during the current COVID-19 pandemic.  Below are frequently asked questions related to those topics.  

 

1.    I have more absentee ballots to be processed than usual, are there any procedures I can use to organize these ballots prior to election day?

Guidance for Indefinitely Confined Electors COVID-19

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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: