The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Monday that absentee voting cannot be exempted on the grounds of public health restrictions caused by the Communist virus (Wuhan Pneumonia) pandemic.
Indefinitely Confined, according to Wisconsin’s election law, a voter can declare himself or herself “Indefinitely Confined” because of age, illness or infirm. This would allow voters to apply for absentee ballots without having to show photo identification.
In a statement on his Facebook page on March 25, Scott McDonell, the County clerk, encouraged “all voters who apply for a ballot but are unable to produce valid identification,” but “can point out, as needed, that they are restricted indefinitely due to illness.”
“This announcement will make it easier for Dane County voters to participate in this election by mail during this difficult time,” McDonald said. He also cites a house order from Governor Tony Evers.
The Republican party in Wisconsin immediately sued Mr McDonough, calling his proposal an abuse of indefinite action restrictions to avoid voter identification. A Wisconsin Supreme Court judge has ordered the statement to be quashed.
In its final ruling on Monday, the court upheld the position of Virginia Republicans. The court said it was up to the voters to declare themselves “restricted indefinitely”, not the county clerk or anyone else. The judges also ruled that the governor’s home order did not mean that everyone was subject to indefinite action restrictions.
“[The Wisconsin Election Law] expressly requires that every voter conduct a personal assessment to determine whether he or she is eligible for indefinite movement restriction or disability,” chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote in the Majority Opinion.
“The county clerk shall not ‘declare’ that any voter is restricted indefinitely by the pandemic,” the opinion reads.
In addition, the court ruled that votes could not be counted for those who falsely claimed to be restricted from indefinite action. It was not immediately clear whether the ruling would invalidate some votes in this year’s presidential election or if it was for future reference only.
“If individual voters do not comply with the law and continue to vote as persons whose movement is restricted indefinitely, their vote will be in violation of the law even if it is not explicitly stated,” the opinion said. “By contrast, their vote will not be counted because of the absentee voting procedure.”
In a separate ruling released on Monday, the court rejected the president’s lawsuit and ordered more than 220,000 votes cast in Darn county and Milwaukee County to be annulled. The 28, 000 votes were cast by voters who declared themselves to be under indefinite motion restrictions. One reason for the dismissal was the late filing of the lawsuit, the ruling said.
“On the face of it,” Brian Hagedorn, a conservative who joined the three liberal justices in the majority, wrote in the opinion, “there is no justification for challenging the votes of voters with unlimited movement.”