Elections Commission not taking action against Dane & Milwaukee County Clerks

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- The Wisconsin Elections Commission will not take action against two county clerks after a lawsuit was filed alleging they provided illegal guidance to voters.

The commission held a special teleconference meeting Sunday evening to not investigate the Dane County and Milwaukee County clerks. The motions failed on a 3-3 vote. As a result no action is being taken.

Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk George Christenson told voters while COVID-19 spreads, voters can claim they are “indefinitely confined on their absentee ballot application, which allows them to bypass a requirement to include a copy of a valid ID for voting.

A lawsuit was filed by the Republican Party of Wisconsin on Friday with the state Supreme Court.

On Friday, the commission administrator Megan Wolfe said the commission did not condone the option to circumvent the voter ID law. However, she said voters decide if they are “indefinitely confined.”

"Designation of indefinitely confined status is for each individual voter to make based upon their current circumstance," stated a memo Wolfe released Friday.

As of Friday, 700,000 voters have asked for absentee ballots.

McDonell’s Facebook post on Thursday:

I have informed Dane County Municipal Clerks that during this emergency and based on the Governors Stay at Home order I am declaring all Dane County voters may indicate as needed that they are indefinitely confined due to illness. This declaration will make it easier for Dane County voters to participate in this election by mail in these difficult times. I urge all voters who request a ballot and have trouble presenting an valid ID to indicate that they are indefinitely confined.

People are reluctant to check the box that says they are indefinitely confined but this is a pandemic. This feature in our law is here to help preserve everyone’s right to vote.

The process works like this:

  • A voter visit’s myvote.wi.gov to request a ballot.
  • A voter can select a box that reads “I certify that I am indefinitely confined due to age illness, infirmity or disability and request ballots be sent to me for every election until I am no longer confined or fail to return a ballot.
  • The voter is then able to skip the step of uploading an ID in order to receive a ballot for the April 7 election.

Voters are confined due to the COVID-19 illness. When the Stay at Home order by the Governor is lifted, the voter can change their designation back by contacting their clerk or updating their information in myvote.wi.gov

Voters who are able to provide a copy of their ID should do so and not indicate that they are indefinitely confined.