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Absentee voting extended, but higher court rules that witnesses are required

The Brillion News

MADISON - Two federal court rulings, the latest by a federal appeals court, have set the rules for Wisconsin's April 7 general election and presidential preference primary election.

The U.S District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, based in Madison, ruled that the April 7 election would take place as scheduled for voting at polling places - between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7.

But the federal district court also ruled that voting by absentee ballot would continue through 4 p.m. on Monday, April 13, as long as the voters applied for an absentee ballot by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3.

The district court was going to allow absentee voters to waive the requirement for a witness to their filling out the ballot, but the U.S. 7th District Court of Appeals late Friday struck that "witnessless" ballot provision. All absentee ballots, in order to be counted, must have a witness' signature and address on the envelope provided to return the completed ballots.

The district court has originally ruled that people would submit a ballot without witnesses if they included a letter saying they couldn't find a witness.

The federal appeals court felt that the extension of the deadline for absentee ballots to April 13 provided plenty of time for everyone to find a valid witness when they filled out the ballot.

~ Written by Ed Byrne/BN with resources provided by Wrightstown Village Clerk Michelle Seidl, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.


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