DNC wants to block lawsuit over incomplete absentee ballots

The DNC on Monday filed to join the lawsuit seeking to allow local election clerks to continue filling in missing information from ballots they receive this fall.

Updated: October 3, 2022 - 11:08pm

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The Democratic National Committee is looking to join the legal fight over incomplete absentee ballots in Wisconsin.

The DNC on Monday filed to join the lawsuit seeking to allow local election clerks to continue filling in missing information from ballots they receive this fall.

The Republican-led legislature and a Waukesha County judge have said the Wisconsin Elections Commission overstepped its bounds with its guidance that allows local clerks to complete absentee ballots without reaching out to voters first. Lawmakers and the judge said state law is clear about the process for incomplete absentee ballots

The DNC calls following that law voter suppression.

“The Democratic Party is committed to ensuring that every eligible voter can cast a valid ballot in Wisconsin,” the DNC said in a statement.

“This [legal fight] is simply another attempt by Republicans and their allies to restrict voting access and undermine the democratic process – and we’re fighting back,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison. “The DNC is taking action to ensure all eligible Wisconsin voters are able to fulfill their sacred right to vote, free from partisan obstruction.”

Wisconsin law requires local clerks to set aside and not count incomplete absentee ballots. Clerks are allowed to contact voters and have them fill in the missing information, but nothing in state law allows for clerks to fill in that information on their own.

The DNC’s motion in the case asks the judge “to prohibit municipal clerks from spoiling previously completed absentee ballots and from returning a previously submitted absentee ballot to a voter..”

The DNC’s argument relies on guidance from the Elections Commission that was first issued back in 2016.

But the Commission withdrew that guidance last month shortly after the judge in Waukesha County ordered them to.

A different Waukesha County judge last month also ruled that Commission staffers cannot send guidance to clerks without a full and official vote by the Elections commissioners themselves.

There’s no guess when we’ll get a ruling on the DNC’s attempt to join the case.

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