Poll workers in Wisconsin may have unlawfully altered thousands of mail-in ballots due to unlawful guidance from the state’s election commission, according to a report.
According to Wisconsin law, an absentee ballot requires that it be signed by a witness who also lists his or her address. Should the ballot not contain the a witness address, the ballot is disallowed and must be returned to the voter so that the witness can provide that information.
However, according to a report from the “Dan O’Donnell Show,” sources claim that “clerks and vote counters” in the state wrote in the witness signatures themselves. Furthermore, the report claims that the election workers chose to write in the addresses because they were illegally advised to do so by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC).
If the poll workers did in fact write the addresses in, the ballots are invalid.
“The statute is very, very clear,” said retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. “If an absentee ballot does not have a witness address on it, it’s not valid. That ballot is not valid.”
According to O’Donnell, “The WEC sent uniform instructions to voters with their mail-in ballots that informed them that ‘your witness must sign and provide their full address (street number, street name, city) in the Certification of Witness section’ and warned that ‘if any of the required information above is missing, your ballot will not be counted.’”
Though, according to O’Donnell, additional guidance was sent to clerks in October that instructed them to fill-in the witness address portion of the ballot themselves, to prevent it from being invalidated.
“Please note that the clerk should attempt to resolve any missing witness address information prior to Election Day if possible, and this can be done through reliable information (personal knowledge, voter registration information, through a phone call with the voter or witness),” the WEC wrote. “The witness does not need to appear to add a missing address.”
Judge Gableman says that directive “turned the statute on its head.”
“In defiance of and direct contradiction to the statute, the Wisconsin Elections Commission gave guidance–that is, cover–to all 72 county clerks and turned the statute on his head,” Gableman explained. “They said, ‘Gee, we know the law says an absentee ballot without the witness address is not valid, but county clerk, you have a duty to go ahead and look up on your own the witness’ address if there’s no address on the absentee ballot.”
The WEC appears to be aware of the questionable legality of their directive given that the commission told clerks to write the addresses in using red ink, which would make the ballots easier to locate during a recount. full story