'I want to vote again': Why spoiled ballots might be an option for some early voters

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58)-- The Democratic United States Senate race has narrowed significantly since early voting began just last week.

Three candidates, Tom Nelson, Alex Lasry and Sarah Godlewski, dropped out of the race, and backed Mandela Barnes.

More than 3,000 voters cast their in-person absentee ballot in Milwaukee as of Sunday, July 31, according to City of Milwaukee Election Commission.

Any of those voters can ask their ballot to be tossed out and get a new one. That's called a spoiled ballot.

"I had never heard the phrase spoiled ballot until last week," University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Professor Emeritus Mordecai Lee said.

Maybe you hadn't either. A spoiled ballot allows voters who may have already selected former candidates a chance to wipe their ballots clean.

"This whole phenomenon of spoiled ballots is unusual and odd, but it's not hard for a voter to go back and say I want a new ballot. I want to vote again," Lee said.

Voters can request to spoil a ballot up to two times.

The Wisconsin Election Commission reports more than 1,500 ballots were spoiled across the state as of Friday, July 29.

Lee predicts this situation could change how and when people vote in future elections.

"You might have less early voting, and you might have more people voting on Election Day," Lee said.

Just because the race has narrowed, Lee said the primary election isn't over and people should still vote.

"Voters will want to go where the action is," Lee said.

Absentee voters have until Thursday, Aug. 4 to request to spoil a ballot.

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