The State of Wisconsin will update its process of sending absentee ballots to overseas voters after reaching a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice Friday. Wisconsin law differentiated between voters who were overseas temporarily and permanently, a distinction that decided how an individual received their absentee ballot. The agreement makes sure that regardless of that distinction, individuals will receive their absentee ballot electronically — either by email or fax. Originally, voters defined as being overseas temporarily were manually mailed a ballot.
“This agreement reflects the department’s continued and resolute commitment to protecting the right to vote for members of our armed forces, their families, and overseas U.S. citizens, and ensuring that all of these voters are afforded a meaningful opportunity to vote in federal elections,” Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division John Gore said in a statement.
The DOJ filed a lawsuit against the state after the Legislature was unable to change the laws defining the type of overseas voter. The Assembly passed a bill that would have changed the law to comply with the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act but the Senate ended the legislative session before taking it up.