Milwaukee election officials' video chat meeting hacked, state results on Monday

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Election officials across the state will start counting votes Monday without clear guidance on how to handle late-absentee ballots.

The Milwaukee Board of Election Commissioners met virtually Sunday, on Zoom, to discuss their plans but hackers forced them out.

City officials will host another public meeting again Monday, at 11 a.m. on a different video platform.

“In the city of Milwaukee, we are holding 354 absentee ballots that have been returned, to date, without postmarks," Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said.

This meeting was canceled after unknown hackers took over the screen displaying religious video, disturbing pictures and words.

“Well, I’m going to suggest that we end the meeting," Albrecht said during the online call.

Wisconsin law does not require a postmark on ballots, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 7 to count.

State elections officials initially upheld this decision, until of hundreds of ballots arrived at clerks’ offices without the postmark.

The state Elections Commission later deadlocked on if the late ballots should be counted, which has created enormous uncertainty.

“What I’m aware of is there are a lot of angry voters," State Election Commissioner Mark Thomsen told CBS 58 during a phone interview.

He called the entire situation “unfair” for voters across all party lines.

“I think that is the profound issue facing all the voters and that problem was created by the five Justices in the U.S. Supreme Court," Thomsen added.

He urged state election officials to hold an emergency meeting Sunday to reconsider, but as of the airing of this story, that meeting has not happened.

“My thought and belief was to the extent that we urged and suggested that those ballots be counted, that would provide uniformity around the state and potentially limit the number of lawsuits that might be filed," he said.

Clerks around the state are allowed to start tallying results at 4 p.m. Monday.

All absentee ballots must be received by that time.

 

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