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Number of spoiled ballots growing after another candidate drops out of August primary

MKE ballot drop box.png
Posted at 4:26 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 10:25:08-04

For the third time in a week, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate dropped out of the race.

While eight names will be on the ballot, only five are still in the race: Mandela Barnes, Steven Olikara, Kou Lee, Peter Peckarsky, and Darrell Williams.

In light of the narrowing field, Olikara has been encouraging those who already voted to spoil their ballot and get a new one.

"We've got a political industrial complex right now and political consultants who are trying to decide the race on behalf of voters. I think we need to turn that on its head," Olikara said.

In Milwaukee County alone, the clerk reported that 27,333 absentee ballots have already been returned.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission said across the state 1,558 ballots have been spoiled by voters and that number is growing.

The three candidates who left the race are now backing Lt. Governor Barnes.

"There's still a lot more people who need to vote and that's what our focus is going to be for the next week and a half," Lt. Governor Barnes said.

To change your vote, you must contact your local clerk's office or the election commission if you are in Milwaukee and request to spoil your ballot, but there is a deadline.

RELATED COVERAGE: Wisconsin absentee voters: Here's how you can change your vote if you already sent in your ballot

"That must be done for regular voters the Thursday before the election. For indefinitely confined or military voters that will be done Friday," said Michelle Hawley, Milwaukee County's election director.

Voters who request to spoil their ballot can either mail in their new one or go to the polling place in person.

Hawley acknowledged the deadlines are coming up quickly but said clerks are bound to state law and are at the mercy of the mail system. Hawley advised your best bet may be to request to spoil your ballot and then vote in person.

The county clerk's office said it is working to inform voters they do have the option to cast a new ballot and make sure their voice is heard.

The winner of the Aug. 9 primary will face Republican Senator Ron Johnson in the November general election.

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