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Wisconsin Elections Commission issues memo noting increase in voter calls to spoil absentee ballot

Posted at 10:29 PM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 11:39:04-04

MADISON — The Wisconsin Elections Commission issued a memo Monday after it says many voters are calling in and requesting to spoil or cancel their absentee ballot.

"Issues include damaged ballots, making an error when voting the ballot (such as filling in the wrong circle or voting for too many candidates), or voters changing their mind after returning their absentee ballots," the memo reads.

"The biggest reason is that people are looking for information in case they change their minds about how they plan to vote," said WEC spokesperson Reid Magney.

State statute allows voters up to three chances to spoil their ballot, whether it's by mail or in person.

Magney said there's an increase of voter calls in Outagamie County after voters said they noticed an error on their ballot.

"They could be counted by hand or they can be remade, so they can be counted by machine. And it's possible that some people may see this news and want to spoil their original ballot and another ballot that doesn't have the printing error on it," Magney said.

There are deadlines. Regular voters have until Oct. 29 to spoil and request a new ballot by mail. Indefinitely confined voters have until Oct. 30.

Officials say you don't want to put that off.

"If you wait until the 29th to do this, you run the risk of being disappointed," Magney said. "Because it's going to take up to seven days for the clerk to mail you out a new ballot."

Otherwise, if you want to vote in person or request a new absentee ballot in person, most municipalities have an Oct. 30 deadline, but the memo says voters should check with their individual clerks in case the deadline is as late as Nov. 1.

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