Pursuant to a federal court order issued last night, the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) is working to reactivate the online voter registration functionality of MyVote Wisconsin through March 30, 2020.
On Wednesday, March 19, a lawsuit was filed by the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin requesting that several statutory provisions be suspended for the Spring Election due to the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The challenged provisions included the March 18 deadline for online and mail-in voter registration, the requirement to provide a proof of residence document for online and mail-in registration, the photo ID requirement for first-time mail-in absentee voters, and the Election Night deadline for the return of absentee ballots.
The Court’s order granted the plaintiffs’ request only regarding the online registration deadline until March 30. It denied the remaining requests, though the Court indicated that the plaintiffs could continue to litigate the issue of late ballot return.
WEC staff is attempting to implement the Court’s decision as promptly as possible. This will require developing changes to WisVote and MyVote Wisconsin, testing and then implementing those modifications. As users of these systems, you are aware that this will not be as simple as creating a new online form or flipping a switch. Especially this close to an election, it is important that we ensure that these changes are implemented successfully and that they do not inadvertently impact other functionalities of our systems.
It is equally important that all local election officials are aware of the Court’s order and comply with it consistently throughout the State. WEC staff hopes to complete the change back to online registration within a few days and will inform clerks and the public when that functionality is again available. The Court’s order requires that a notice be posted on the MyVote and Elections Commission website homepages regarding the reinstatement of online registration.
WEC staff understands that this creates another complication to an already challenging and very stressful lead-up to the Spring Election and Presidential Primary. We appreciate your continuing hard work and your partnership in serving Wisconsin voters and ensuring that our election and voting procedures are implemented in a fair, uniform and secure manner.
A copy of the Court’s decision is attached. If you have questions regarding this communication, please contact the Help Desk at 608-261-2028 or [email protected].