(The Center Square) – Some absentee ballots in Wisconsin are likely already in the mail, and the head of the state’s election commission is telling voters to fill them out and return them as quickly as possible.
Wisconsin Election Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe on Tuesday said it is important that voters don’t wait given the flood of absentee ballots this fall.
“We have more absentee ballot requests than in any previous election,” Wolfe said. “ There are over a million absentee ballot requests on file.”
Thursday is the deadline for local election managers to get absentee ballots in the mail to voters. Wolfe said many of the ballots are already in the mail, and some voters may get theirs by the end of the week.
“The best advice I can give to voters is that if you choose to vote by absentee ballot, make that request as soon as you’re able. And return that ballot as soon as you’re able as well,” Wolfe said at a news conference. “That way if there is some kind of issue, you can track that on the MyVote website.”
Wolfe said over a million people have requested an absentee ballot so far. Voters have until the Thursday before Election Day to request an absentee ballot.
All absentee ballots must be back to local election clerks by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Wolfe said, so returning an absentee ballot early is crucial.
“If there were some sort of issue with it making it back, there would still be time to request a replacement ballot,” Wolfe said. “Leveraging the time that we have, we have 49 days before the election, to make sure that everyone who wants to request an absentee ballot is able to do so. And is able to get that ballot back.”
As it stands now, Wolfe said there are no late returns for ballots allowed under the law.
Wisconsin’s 1,850 municipal clerks and 70 or so county clerks can begin mailing their absentee ballots after the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday ruled against the Green Party in its bid to make the November ballot. The high courts said, essentially, the Green Party waited too long to bring its case before the court.
Wolfe said the Wisconsin Election Commission will not track the progress of every absentee ballot to see when it is mailed. The focus will instead be on military ballots. Wolfe said the Department of Defense wants a report to make sure ballots sent to Wisconsin’s service members are sent on time.