No election do-overs: Wisconsin judge overrules regulators on spoiling ballots

Wisconsin Elections Commission had said that people can vote a second time if they change their mind.

Updated: October 7, 2022 - 11:23pm

Voters in Wisconsin don’t get a do-over once they’ve turned in their ballot.

A judge in Waukesha on Thursday overruled the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s guidance that people can vote a second time if they change their mind.

Wisconsin law allows voters to "spoil" their ballots and get a second ballot, but Judge Brad Schimel said that law applies before voters submit their ballots. Once that happens, Schimel ruled, those votes are final.

The issue became a problem in August when a number of Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate and one of the Republicans running for governor dropped out of the race but still appeared on the ballot.

The Elections Commission made it clear for the August primary that if voters cast a ballot for one of those candidates, they could get a new ballot and vote again.

A group called Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections filed the lawsuit last month. The case is on behalf of a Brookfield voter named Nancy Kormanik.

RITE was created this summer by former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr and longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove. They've also filed lawsuits over election laws in Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Judge Schimel, who used to be Wisconsin’s Attorney General, ordered WEC to rescind its ballot spoiling guidance as soon as possible.

This is the latest defeat for Wisconsin’s Elections Commission. Judges have also overruled WEC on absentee drop boxes, the curing of ballots, and a judge ruled earlier this week that WEC’s administrators and staff members have no power to issue any kind of election guidance on their own.

Some Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin want to get rid of the Elections Commission altogether.

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