Follow Us

Wisconsin federal court dismisses lawsuit to toss witness requirement for absentee voting

“The most obvious problem” with the attorneys' argument “is that it simply does not make any sense,” the court ruled.

Published: May 10, 2024 8:27pm

A Wisconsin federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to toss out the witness requirement for absentee voting.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson on Thursday ruled against a lawsuit brought by Democratic election lawyer Marc Elias' law firm that attempted to cancel the witness requirement for voters who cast absentee ballots.

Elias Law Group argued that the witness requirement violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to the court's opinion, “the most obvious problem” with the attorneys' argument “is that it simply does not make any sense.” 

The judge said that the plaintiffs' interpretation of the laws would mean that "every witness would have to determine the voter’s age, residence, citizenship, criminal history, whether the voter is unable or unwilling to vote in person, whether the voter has voted at another location or is planning to do so, whether the voter is capable of understanding the objective of the voting process, whether the voter is under a guardianship, and, if so, whether a court has determined that the voter is competent."

The court also noted that the “absurd results to which” the arguments “would lead are reason enough to reject” them.

President of election integrity group RITE Derek Lyons said in a statement on Friday regarding the ruling, "It’s essential that people voting by mail follow the law in doing so, and Wisconsin has implemented a witness signature requirement that helps ensure they do just that. This case marks another example of liberal activists’ transparent and shameful efforts to co-opt important civil rights legislation for their partisan agendas. Sadly, it is all too clear that these activists are more interested in making unfounded accusations than in ensuring impartial and accurate elections."

Jason Snead, Executive Director of Honest Elections Project, released a statement Friday, saying, "A federal judge has officially thrown out a lawsuit filed by Left-wing attorney Marc Elias challenging a key election integrity provision requiring absentee ballot signature verification, exposing his radical legal strategy to flood the zone with dozens of frivolous lawsuits.

"The plaintiff's theory in this case was yet another example of Elias and the left twisting old statutes to attack modern ballot safeguards," Snead continued. "In this case, they asked a court to conclude that requiring a witness signature on a mail ballot was illegal vouching under the Voting Rights Act.

"In the Jim Crow era, many places required a registered voter to vouch for the qualifications of a new voter in order to prevent African Americans from voting. Obviously, that law was not intended to prevent widely used election integrity measures for mail ballots. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and an Obama appointed judge agreed, wisely dismissing the case," he concluded.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Just the News Spotlight

Support Just the News