A Wisconsin judge ruled it is illegal for voters to cancel their original absentee ballot and cast a new one, siding with a conservative group that said the practice known as ballot spoiling.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Brad Schimel, who was attorney general from 2015 to 2019, sided on Wednesday with RITE and ordered the election commission to rescind its guidance. He also denied a request to put his oral ruling on hold.
The practice was put in place in the Badger State by the extremely corrupt Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC), a group of unelected bureaucrats that changed election policies and procedures, opening the door to various forms of election fraud.
The Republican-led group, known as RITE, (Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections), filed the lawsuit demanding the WEC end the practice.
RITE argued that the practice in Wisconsin is both against the law and creates additional opportunities for fraud and confusion.
The group was created in July by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, longtime Republican strategist Karl Rove, GOP donor Steve Wynn and others. The group has also filed election-related lawsuits in the battleground states of Arizona and Pennsylvania.
The Democratic National Committee joined the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission in fighting the lawsuit.
It’s the latest legal defeat for the commission, which Republican lawmakers who created it have targeted for abolishment. Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels also supports doing away with the commission.
The commission and its guidance became a target after Donald Trump narrowly lost Wisconsin in 2020, an outcome that’s withstood numerous lawsuits, two partial recounts, a nonpartisan audit, and partisan reviews.
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge is prohibiting voters from canceling their original absentee ballot and casting a new one, siding with a conservative group created by prominent Republicans that said the practice known as ballot spoiling is illegal.
The ruling Wednesday from a Waukesha County judge who was a former Republican attorney general comes as voters in the battleground state are submitting their absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 election. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Republican Sen. Ron Johnson are both on the ballot.
Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections filed the lawsuit on behalf of Brookfield voter Nancy Kormanik last month. It challenged the guidance issued on Aug. 1 to more than 1,800 local election clerks by the state elections commission detailing how they can spoil an absentee ballot at the request of the voter after it’s already been returned.
Ballot spoiling got more attention in the August primary after a Republican candidate for governor and three top Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate dropped out of the races, but their names were still on the ballots. The elections commission made clear then that voters who had cast their ballots for one of them absentee could spoil it and vote again for someone still in the race.
The commission did not immediately have numbers Thursday of how many ballots had been spoiled in the primary.
This is another big ruling against a liberal state elections committee.
This tightening up of the election process should significantly improve election integrity starting as early as the 2022 mid-term elections on November 8, 2022.
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