Wisconsin appeals court outlaws practice of spoiling absentee ballots to vote again

Few voters end up "spoiling" ballots.

Updated: October 29, 2022 - 4:16pm

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A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld a lower court's ruling forbidding the practice of "ballot spoiling," requiring the state's election commission to rescind guidance it had earlier issued on the matter. 

The state's 2nd District Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a county circuit court's directive that ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rescind its earlier instructions issued to voters who wished to void their submitted ballot and cast a new one. 

That practice, known as "spoiling," is relatively rare in U.S. voting, though upwards of 33,000 voters in Wisconsin spoiled their ballots during the 2020 presidential election, according to the Associated Press

That figure constituted about 1% of all votes cast in the state, which Joe Biden won in 2020 by about 0.63%. 

The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Friday held an emergency meeting and voted to comply with the court's directives.

Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents have already voted by absentee ballot under the state's early voting rules.