Thousands of mailed absentee ballots could be thrown out because witnesses for the voters did not provide their full addresses. With only a fraction of absentee ballots mailed in, the number of ballots at risk of being tossed is now in the hundreds and could easily grow to thousands in the state’s largest city alone, said Neil Albrecht, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission. In most cases where ballots are at risk, the error is a minor one — the witness provided a street address but not the name of a municipality. Often, the voter and witness live at the same address, but clerks aren’t allowed to fill in the missing information unless they track down the voter and get his or her permission. “What distresses me the most about this is it’s mostly seniors,” Albrecht said. “I think it’s absurd that your ballot might not be counted because someone in your household didn’t record their municipality.”
The issue is surfacing after Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature approved a law that says mailed absentee ballots cannot be counted if witnesses do not provide an address.
Absentee voters have long needed to have a witness so that clerks can be confident ballots are filled out by the voter they were sent to and not someone else.
In the past, witnesses were supposed to provide their addresses, but if they didn’t, the ballots were still counted. That changed this spring with a provision tucked into legislation changing election procedures.
Full Article: Absentee ballots at risk of being tossed.