At the May 24, 2018 meeting of the Wisconsin Election Commission, the Commission made several decisions concerning the absentee certificate envelope. Staff has previously received reports concerning the inability of postal equipment to reliably process the landscape version of the absentee certificate envelope and staff outlined these concerns in a memo to local election officials announcing the new version of the envelope in September 2017. These concerns prompted staff to no longer offer the landscape version of the absentee certificate envelope. Local election officials should not place any additional orders for this version of the envelope.
In addition, the Commission directed staff to inform local election officials of the following changes to the absentee certificate envelope:
- Existing stock of the landscape version of the absentee certificate envelope may only be used for absentee ballots sent by mail for the 2018 August Partisan Primary. After this election, only the portrait version of the absentee certificate envelope may be used for by-mail absentee ballots.
- All absentee ballots sent by mail for the 2018 November General Election must be mailed with the portrait version of the absentee certificate envelope.
- The landscape version of the absentee certificate envelope may still be used for in-person absentee voting in the clerk’s office and for absentee ballots cast with Special Voting Deputies for the 2018 November General Election.
- Local election officials should cease all use of the landscape version of the absentee certificate envelope after the 2018 November General Election.
The Commission also directed staff to continue researching improvements to the absentee certificate envelope and the by-mail voting process, in general. We will be soliciting your feedback on potential changes to the envelope and we encourage you to provide us with any suggestions you may have regarding the design of the envelope. Please contact us with suggestions, questions or concerns at (608) 261-2028 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.