Wisconsin’s elections boss says the recent state Supreme Court decision on ballot drop boxes means only one ballot per voter.
Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters Thursday that she reads the decision in Teigen v WEC to say that voters cannot return other people’s absentee ballots.
“As of right now, the voter is the one required to mail their ballot,” Wolfe said.
But she hedged by adding that some local election clerks may feel differently.
“I would check with your local election official, as they are the ones in their communities that are responsible for administering that process and for providing their voters information about how ballots can be returned in their community.”
Elections commissioners on Tuesday were deadlocked as to whether the Commission should issue formal guidance to local clerks about how to handle voters who return more than one ballot. In the end, the Commission didn’t issue any guidance.
Wolfe said she didn’t think “it would be appropriate” for her “to opine beyond anything that’s in the court’s ruling.”
The lack of a clear, statewide rule for returning absentee ballots has lawmakers concerned.
Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, told The Center Square earlier this week that she fears communities across the state will be on their own.
“If Milwaukee and Madison do it one way, [and other communities do it differently] who determines the correct process?” Brandtjen said earlier this week.
Barbara Beckert, director of the Milwaukee office of Disability Rights Wisconsin, on Thursday, said federal law allows disabled voters to have help in returning their ballots.
“The right for voters with disabilities to have assistance from a person of their choice is protected by federal law. Nothing in this decision changes federal protections for people with disabilities”, Beckert said. “Voters with disabilities who need ballot delivery assistance may want to contact their municipal clerk to ask for a disability-related accommodation.”
Wolfe said the differences of opinion will likely lead to some confusion for voters as they turn out to vote in the August primary, and again in November.