In a win for election integrity, absentee voters can no longer change their vote after submitting their ballots, a Wisconsin judge has ruled.
As previously reported, Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) for its unlawful guidance that allowed absentee voters to change their vote after their ballot had already been cast. The guidance also allows election officials to “spoil” the old ballot on behalf of the voter, creating an environment ripe for voter fraud and confusion.
Such a directive violated Wisconsin statute, which states that a voter possesses the exclusive authority to spoil his absentee ballot before it is submitted, not after.
RITE argued that the guidance was against the law and could create opportunities for fraud and confusion. Waukesha County Circuit Judge Brad Schimel agreed with RITE and ordered WEC to rescind its guidance on Wednesday. The Democratic National Committee had joined WEC in fighting the lawsuit.
“Today’s ruling is another major victory for Wisconsin voters,” RITE President and CEO Derek Lyons said in a press release. “WEC’s unlawful guidance destroys voter confidence and taints the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. Once a vote is cast, it is cast. Period.”
Ever since the chaos that marked the administration of the 2020 election, WEC has come under fire. Last month, a Wisconsin judge blocked WEC guidance allowing election clerks to fill in missing information on witness certification envelopes containing absentee ballots — a process known as ballot curing. During the 2020 election, Wisconsin processed nearly 2 million absentee ballots statewide.
In September, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) also sued the board for illegally using a voter registration form not authorized by state law.
In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled WEC’s use of ballot drop boxes was illegal. And last year, a state investigation revealed that WEC allegedly violated the law by telling nursing home staff to cast ballots for residents. During the 2020 election itself, WEC wrongfully kept third-party candidates off the ballot, like the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and Kanye West.
WEC’s ostensible partisanship made Wisconsin radio host Dan O’Donnell describe the commission as “downright derelict in its duty to fairly and impartially oversee an election.”