Wisconsin expanded the scope of mail-in ballots in 2020. By October 28, almost 1.8 million Wisconsin voters had requested absentee ballots. Plaintiffs are voters who filed this suit because they believed the relaxed standards for mail-in ballots – contrary to established Wisconsin election law – made the likelihood of fraud much greater, thereby diluting their votes and disenfranchising other Wisconsin voters.
In Wisconsin, an absentee voter typically must provide a valid ID for voting, like a driver’s license, but voters who are “indefinitely confined” are not required to provide a photo ID. Several counties openly encouraged voters to apply for ballots as “indefinitely confined” such that there was a 238% increase in that type of request.
Additionally, Wisconsin law requires absentee ballots to be signed by a witness with a name and address. On August 18, the Wisconsin Election Commission warned that ballots without a witness address would not be counted. But on October 19, the same commission told clerks that ballots without the witness address could be cured without the witness appearing. The complaint lists examples of voters who were turned away on election day because they were told they had applied for absentee ballots – which they had not.
Plaintiffs intended to provide evidence that enough illegal ballots were counted to potentially change the outcome of the state’s vote tally and they claimed they would also be able to identify people who cast multiple ballots, were deceased, or had moved along with other examples of illegal voting.
Plaintiffs asked that votes from the identified counties be excluded from the state’s certification process. The bar is very high for such a remedy, but an expert report could shed a lot of light on the problems with mail-in voting as experienced in Wisconsin. This information would underscore the problem of illegal voting in the 2020 Presidential election and support an effort for better safeguards in the future.
On November 16, this suit was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice against the defendants. This means the case may be brought again as long as it is still within the statute of limitations.