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Judge: Not Counting Military Ballots Could “Disenfranchise” Military Voters

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A judge will not delay counting military ballots in Wisconsin.

A Waukesha County judge on Monday refused to sequester military ballots until they can be verified.

I felt that that was a drastic remedy, that I felt that it was at least at a minimum a temporary disenfranchisement of our military voters’ votes to say, ‘let’s put them on hold and let’s figure out after the fact whether or not there’s bad votes cast,’” Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Maxwell said in his ruling from the bench.

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, asked the judge to intervene after she got three fake military ballots in the mail last week. She said she wanted to make sure that only military members were casting military ballots.

Wisconsin law allows military members to request a ballot online without having to register first or show any kind of voter ID.

The Thomas More Society joined the case as well, asking the judge for a temporary restraining order.

The judge’s decision means that military ballots will be counted, even though there are questions surrounding them in the state. A now-former Milwaukee elections official, Kimberly Zapata, is facing charges. The city’s mayor says she admitted to creating the fake ballots and sending them to Brandtjen, though it’s unclear why.

Attorneys arguing against the sequestration of ballots argued in court that not counting the ballots would do little to stop what Zapata did.

Wisconsin’s Election Commission on Monday said there has not been a spike in military ballots in the state for this election.

WEC told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that there were around 2,700 military ballots requested for the 2018 election. About 1,500 were returned. This year, WEC said 2,747 military ballots have been requested, around 1,400 have been returned so far.

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