Election officials urge voters with absentee ballots to not go through mail at this point

NOW: Election officials urge voters with absentee ballots to not go through mail at this point


MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – While more than 1.6 million absentee ballots have been returned, either through the mail, drop-off sites or early in-person voting, there are more than 250,000 that have not been returned and the Wisconsin Elections Commission is urging voters with absentee ballots to not send them through the mail at this point.

“Now that we have less than seven days voters need to consider another method to get those ballots back to the polls on time to be counted,” WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe told reporters.

If people still have their absentee ballots, Wolfe said they should return them at local clerk’s offices or at drop-off sites.

Looking ahead to Election Day, Wolfe noted the state is in good shape with staffing.

“A lot of our local election officials are reporting having not just enough poll workers but having enough in the event in an emergency,” Wolfe said.

The commission said there’s a statewide shortage of about 200 poll workers mainly in smaller communities. On Thursday, Governor Tony Evers mobilized about 400 National Guard members to serve as poll workers if needed.

“They’re going to actually be stationed regionally on Election Day and this will allow if there is some emergency need […], we’d be able to call up those guard members in their area, in their county to serve as poll workers in that emergency capacity,” Wolfe said.

That need is far less than earlier this year, when about 2,500 guard members were utilized in the April spring election. Approximately 1,000 members were used in both the 7th Congressional District special election in May and the August statewide primary.

The members that serve will be in plain clothes, be from the counties they serve in and not serve in any law enforcement capacity.

Wolfe also reminded voters that election night results reported by the media or political parties are never official results. Statewide results are not official until municipal, county and state canvassing are completed by Dec. 1. Wolfe said it is important for voters to be patient as election officials tally votes.

“They’re not going to speed up the process because people are anxious to get those unofficial results,” Wolfe said. “It’s going to take longer because there’s more ballots to count if you want to maintain that same level of making sure everything is accurate.”

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