Democrats Sue Wisconsin to Block Absentee Voter Witness Requirements

Democrats are suing the state of Wisconsin to block witness requirements for absentee voter ballots.

The effort is being led by former Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Elias.

Elias and national Democrats are pushing to strip rules and procedures from U.S. elections that protect voter integrity.

Under current Wisconsin law, a witness is required to sign and address an absentee ballot envelope.

This requirement reduces the chance of voter fraud.

Nevertheless, Democrats want this eliminated.

They argue that the state is violating the federal Voting Rights Act by demanding a witness signature on ballot envelopes.

In the lawsuit, which they filed in federal court against the Wisconsin Elections Commission and other elections officials, Elias called the requirement a “burden” to voters.

It isn’t clear, however, why such a minor requirement could be considered a “burden” when it helps to add more security to elections.

State law requires clerks to reject absentee ballots that are missing a witness’ address or signature, the AP notes.

A Wisconsin judge ruled last year that elections officials cannot correct or fill in missing information on witness certifications, a practice known as ballot curing.

The Voting Rights Act prohibits states from requiring a voter to “prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.”

The elections commission did not reveal how many ballots have been rejected over missing witness information in recent elections.

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Nine states require witness signatures to verify absentee ballots and three states require an absentee ballot envelope to be notarized, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In Wisconsin, witnesses for most voters must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old.

Witnesses for overseas and military voters are not required to be U.S. citizens.

In a random review of nearly 15,000 absentee ballots cast in the 2020 presidential election in Wisconsin, the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau found that nearly 7% of the witness certificates were missing at least one component of the witness’ address.

The rules for voting in Wisconsin are of heightened interest given its place as one of a handful of battleground presidential states.

Four of the past six presidential elections in Wisconsin have been decided by less than a percentage point, including the past two.

READ MORE: 34,000 Illegal 2020 Election Ballots Found in Michigan during Forensic Study

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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