Wisconsin election clerks rush to mail ballots after delay

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58/AP) — Election clerks in Wisconsin are rushing to mail absentee ballots less than 24 hours after the state Supreme Court lifted its temporary freeze on sending them while it considered a legal challenge.

The Town of Greenville clerk who also serves as president of the Wisconsin Municipal Clerks Association says clerks across the state are "busy."

More than 1,850 clerks in municipalities big and small are working to meet a Thursday deadline in state law to mail ballots to the more than 1 million voters who've requested them so far. Several are just working to package envelopes, as they await the printed ballots that are expected to be available to send on Wednesday.

“We have virtually ten, twelve people working on assembling, packaging," Oak Creek City Clerk Catherine Roeske said. "Obviously we can’t do anything with the ballots until we receive them.”

Clerks also face a Saturday deadline in federal law to send ballots to military and overseas voters.

Clerks will only send absentee ballots to those who are registered to vote and have requested a ballot, which can be done online or through mail.

“If you are not indefinitely confined, or permanently overseas, or military, you would also need to include a valid photo ID,” Franklin City Clerk Sandi Wesolowski said.

The ballot was in question as late as Tuesday afternoon, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the Green Party would not be added.

But the Wisconsin Elections Commission believes all clerks will meet the deadline.

“We ask them to report issues to us if they are aware of any, and at this point we have not heard of any specific issues around the state,” Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said.

Clerks said, it's always safest to request a ballot as soon as possible, but not to worry if you haven't yet.

“They have plenty of time," Roeske said. "Great news is, for this election, ballots come out this early in September. They can request a mailed ballot to them through October 29th. So we have plenty of time to get those requests out. I would hope that people can get that done sooner than later, so they have enough time to return them to us.”


Contributions made to this story by SCOTT BAUER Associated Press 

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