As we posted on 9/21, a federal judge ruled that absentee ballots could be postmarked up through election day on November 3rd and included in the vote count if they arrived by November 9th. In anticipation, the judge stayed his ruling knowing the GOP would file an appeal. And they did so yesterday:
Republicans who control the state Legislature appealed a court decision Wednesday to try to make sure absentee ballots aren’t counted if clerks receive them after election day.
The filing with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals came two days after U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled absentee ballots should be counted if they are postmarked by Nov. 3 — election day — and received by clerks by Nov. 9.
Ordinarily, absentee ballots in Wisconsin are counted only if they are in clerks’ hands by election day. Conley provided the extension because of the coronavirus pandemic, a surge in mail voting and recent problems with delivering mail on time.
The appeal will be heard by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
As I stated earlier, all of this running around doesn’t actually help voters at this point and will certainly add to the confusion around the voting process. If this ruling is overturned on appeal and someone misses that and is relying on what they originally read, their vote may not get tabulated.
At this point, my recommendation is to follow your original voting plan. If you are voting in person none of this matters to you. If you are voting absentee, vote the moment you receive your ballot and if possible return it to your municipality’s election commission immediately. Don’t trust that this ruling will actually take effect.
And if you are planning to request an absentee ballot, the best time to do that was a month ago, so do it NOW!
And I hope the appeals court rules immediately so we can put all of this turmoil behind us and get the correct information out to the votes well ahead of the election.