Election clerks across the state are starting to mail out more than a million absentee ballots to voters after the Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected Monday the Green Party presidential candidate’s effort to get on the ballot. Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn voted with the court’s three liberal justices in ruling against candidate Howie Hawkins, saying his campaign waited too long to file its lawsuit.
“For this court to order the printing and mailing of replacement ballots, containing the petitioners’ names would create a substantial possibility of confusion among voters who had already received, and possibly returned, the original ballots,” the majority opinion stated.
The court also lifted its order barring clerks from mailing ballots, clearing the way for them to be sent out.
“We’re pleased that clerks are now able to proceed with being able to meet their statutory deadlines and to continue with their mission, which is to serve the Wisconsin voters and to make sure that they get their ballots in time for them to be able to receive them and to interact with them and return them,” Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator, Meagan Wolfe, said in a press conference Tuesday.
More absentee ballots have been requested in this election than in any previous election, Wolfe said. By law, the ballots must be mailed out 47 days before the election, meaning Thursday, Sept. 17 at the latest.
With that mind, election officials are encouraging voters who want to vote absentee to act now.
“The best advice I can give to voters is if you choose to vote by absentee ballot, make that request as soon as you’re able and return that ballot as soon as you’re able to. That way, if there is some kind of issue with it, making it back in time, you’ll be able to track that on the myvote.wi.gov site,” according to Wolfe.