Judge Rules No Wisconsin Election Results Before April 13 Absentee Deadline

Apr 3, 2020

Updated 11:41 a.m.:

Judge rules Wisconsin clerks can't release results from Tuesday's election before April 13 absentee deadline.

Original Post:

The Wisconsin Elections Commission says a federal judge who ordered an extension for absentee voting in Tuesday’s election should ensure that no results are reported until all absentee ballots are in. The election has been roiled by fears of the coronavirus, with many municipalities saying they won’t be able to staff polling locations.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge William Conley rejected lawsuits seeking to postpone the election but gave voters until 4 p.m. April 13 to return absentee ballots. Conley also extended the deadline to request an absentee ballot until 5 p.m. Friday and ruled absentee voters who are unable to safely obtain a witness certification can send a written statement saying they reasonably tried. 

The Wisconsin Elections Commission, late Thursday night, failed to formally appeal Conley's ruling.

Some Republicans on the commission are not happy. The delay in returning ballots upset commission member Bob Spindell, a Republican who’s worried voters may not have to mail the document.

"I have never heard of anything so ridiculous as that," he said.

But Spindell failed to get the panel to try and require the ballots to be returned through the Postal Service.

Next, the commission failed on a tie vote to ask a federal appeals court to look at the April 13 deadline. But the Republican Party has filed an appeal.

Democratic member Mark Thomsen said it’s time to follow Judge Conley’s ruling.

"We are trying to save an election,” he said.

The commission is asking Conley to clarify a few things, and staff will try to put together new guidance for county clerks and voters in just the next few days.

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