More than three dozen local election clerks appear to have missed a federally mandated deadline for sending out absentee ballots to military and overseas voters, according to the Government Accountability Board. Election officials had until this past Saturday to send out ballots requested by military and overseas voters who want to vote in the Aug. 14 primary in which Republicans will choose a U.S. Senate candidate to face the Democratic candidate, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, in the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl. The number of clerks who missed the deadline may change, as some 265 municipal clerks still haven’t told the GAB if they had any ballot requests, and GAB staff believe that some of the clerks who did respond to a survey might have responded incorrectly. But it nevertheless marks another in a string of elections in which Wisconsin has failed to comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act.
The MOVE Act is intended to ensure that military and overseas voters have ample time to receive a ballot, vote and return the ballot in time for it to be counted in the election. It requires absentee ballots be sent out to military and overseas voters no later than 45 days before a federal election. “We have continued to communicate with clerks about the importance of meeting the deadlines for sending out military and overseas absentee ballots,” GAB spokesman Reid Magney wrote in an email to Wisconsin Reporter. Getting local election officials to comply with MOVE Act requirements has been a repeated problem.