Wisconsin sending mail-in ballot applications to 2.7 million registered voters
The Wisconsin Elections Commission on Wednesday approved a plan to send absentee ballot applications to more than 2.7 million registered voters, in a move that comes as President Trump continues to attack the ballot method as one that leads to fraud.
The decision from the commission follows an April primary in which the state saw a dramatic increase in applications to vote by mail.
After meeting in a public video conference to address the proposal, the six-member commission unanimously approved a plan to send an application form and a pre-paid envelope to about 2.7 million registered state voters, Reuters reported.
The commission will reportedly meet in June to review the contents of the mailing. Voters who already have absentee ballot applications on file and residents who have been flagged for moving addresses will not receive the new applications.
In the proposal for sending out absentee ballot applications, the state’s elections commission wrote that based on the April primary, “voters new to the absentee process often have difficulty understanding how to request, complete, and return an absentee ballot.”
“In addition, many organizations — both partisan and non-partisan — often send Wisconsin voters incomplete or misleading information about the absentee voting process,” the commission staff wrote.
Wisconsin’s April 7 primary was marred by disputes between Gov. Tony Evers (D) and Republican lawmakers. Evers issued an executive order to postpone the election because of the coronavirus outbreak, though the Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled the directive.
The ruling was also followed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision blocking Wisconsin from accepting absentee ballots postmarked after its voting day.
Wisconsin residents requested absentee ballots in record numbers during the April election, according to the Wisconsin State Journal, which noted that state officials predict that up to 1.8 million voters could request an absentee ballot in the November elections.
Several states have moved to expand mail-in voting opportunities as concerns grow about packing voters at the polls amid a pandemic. Trump has ramped up his attacks against the voting method in response, claiming that some are using the coronavirus to perpetrate a “scam.”
After Michigan and Nevada took steps last week to increase voting by mail, Trump threatened to withhold federal funding for the states.
The president has regularly made unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud dating back to 2016.
Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington — already hold elections almost entirely by mail. Meanwhile, 33 states and the District of Columbia give voters the option.
Other states allow voting by mail only in certain circumstances, though the coronavirus outbreak has prompted further debate about relaxing certain restrictions.