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Swing state’s election law changed by liberal judge

"I voted" stickers at a voting place on Sept. 6, 2022, in Medfield, Massachusetts. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/TNS)
July 03, 2024

A liberal judge has ruled that local election officials in the state of Wisconsin can send absentee ballots electronically to disabled voters ahead of November’s presidential election. The sudden change has led to concerns regarding election integrity ahead of the November election.

According to The New York Post, Dane County Circuit Court Judge Everett Mitchell, who previously claimed that criminals who stole from big-box stores should not face prosecution, ruled that disabled Wisconsin voters can request and use electronic ballots in the 2024 election. The outlet reported that the ruling came as the judge issued a temporary injunction ahead of the November 5 election, sparking additional election security concerns in a state that faced challenges with absentee ballots in 2020.

A press release by Disability Rights Wisconsin states, “A voter is qualified to request an emailed ballot from their municipal clerk if they certify that they are unable to independently read and/or mark a paper absentee ballot due to a print disability.”

According to Disability Rights Wisconsin, the electronic ballots can be completed with the help of assistive technology.

Disability Rights Wisconsin added, “This relief allows voters with print disabilities the option to complete their ballot independently without disclosing the content of their vote to a third party.”

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The New York Post reported that Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul’s deputy attorneys argued against the election law change, citing confusion and election security risks as potential consequences of the change just months before the election. The Post Millennial noted that the change would only require individuals to self-report that they are reading disabled in order to receive electronic ballots.

Prior to the injunction, disabled voters in Wisconsin were required to follow the same process as other absentee voters in the state. Just like other absentee voters, disabled voters were required to request an absentee ballot from an election clerk, complete the paper ballot that was sent in the mail, and either mail the ballot back or drop the ballot off at a local clerk’s office.

According to The New York Post, Republican lawmakers have filed an appeal in Waukesha County, claiming that Mitchell’s ruling would disrupt the voting process just prior to the presidential election.

Following Tuesday’s ruling, Kit Kerschensteiner, the director of Legal and Advocacy Services for Disability Rights Wisconsin, said, “The law protects every voter’s right to cast their ballot without having to share who they voted for. This decision gives voters with print disabilities that option.”

Debra Cronmiller, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, also released a statement, saying, “While we expect the decision to be appealed, this is an exciting day for Plaintiffs and other voters with print disabilities who have been fighting for the dignity of voting like everyone else: privately and independently.”