Ballot Battle in Hotly Contested Wisconsin Gets Twist From Court
(Bloomberg) -- Jockeying for the presidency in Wisconsin intensified as the swing state’s highest court issued an order that could delay the mailing out of absentee ballots.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the state’s Elections Commission to prevent the forms from being sent out to voters before it rules on the Green Party’s lawsuit to get on the ballot, filed by presidential candidate Howie Hawkins and his running mate, Angela Walker. Their ticket could take crucial votes from Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden in hotly contested Wisconsin and help President Donald Trump.
The commission had found that the Green Party candidates failed to gather enough valid signatures to get on the ballot, prompting the suit. The court’s ruling on Thursday puts a Sept. 17 deadline for mailing out the ballots in doubt. The court also ordered the commission to provide information by 5 p.m. on any ballots that have already been requested and mailed out, requiring it to gather names and addresses from more than 1,800 municipal clerks.
Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, who dissented from the ruling, said the court had given the election commission an impractical task.
“Given the breadth of the information requested and the minimal time allotted to obtain it, I fear that the majority of this court is asking the impossible of our approximately 1,850 municipal clerks throughout the state,” Bradley wrote.
Nearly 1 million people in Wisconsin had requested absentee ballots for the general election as of Thursday, according to the commission, which is expecting more than 3 million of the state’s residents to vote in November. Election officials have urged residents to request their ballots and mail them in as soon as possible.
Reid Magney, a spokesperson for the commission, said it’s working to comply with the order, and didn’t have any comment on the ruling. Magney said some municipal clerks may already have mailed ballots out to voters, “but the number is likely very small.”
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.