Home U.S. Wisconsin Supreme Court: COVID-19 Is Not a Valid Reason for Absentee Voting

Wisconsin Supreme Court: COVID-19 Is Not a Valid Reason for Absentee Voting

On Dec. 14, the Wisconsin Supreme Court made two rulings about the 2020 presidential election. Mainstream media only focused on the ruling that dismissed President Trump’s case to uncover election fraud. The second case, however, favored Trump’s legal battle.

The first ruling sought to disqualify over 220,000 ballots cast in the Democrat-leaning Dane and Milwaukee counties. Those ballots were cast early and were not properly-written ballot requests. Additionally, 28,000 ballots were made by people who claimed they were “indefinitely confined.” Clerks even filled in some of the absentee ballots. The court rejected the case because it was raised “too late” and was “meritless on its face.”

The second ruling, in contrast, supported Trump’s legal team. The case argued that the COVID-19 lockdown was not a valid reason for people to vote “absentee” without providing a valid photo identification. According to Wisconsin law, a voter can declare “indefinitely confined” and vote without a photo ID if they are elderly, physically incapable, or infirm. 

The Wisconsin Republican Party filed the lawsuit when Dana County clerk Scott McDonell posted on Facebook that voters can declare “indefinitely confined” if they cannot present a valid photo ID when requesting a mail-in ballot. He cited the COVID-19 lockdown instigated by Gov. Tony Evers as a legitimate reason. 

Wisconsin Governor
Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers instigated the COVID-19 lockdown. (Image: YouTube / Screenshot)

“The plain language of [Wisconsin’s election law] requires that each elector make an individual assessment to determine whether he or she qualifies as indefinitely confined or disabled for an indefinite period,” Chief Justice Patience Roggensack wrote in the majority opinion. “A county clerk may not ‘declare’ that any elector is indefinitely confined due to a pandemic.”

The court has been unclear as to whether the current votes will be disqualified, or if the decision was only meant to safeguard future elections.

“If individual electors did not follow the statutory mandate and continued to vote as indefinitely confined, despite no longer meeting the statutory requirements, they would cast their votes contrary to the statute,” the majority opinion reads. “In turn, because compliance with the absentee ballot process is mandatory, their ballots would not count.”

Joe Biden got 1,630,866 votes in Wisconsin compared to Trump’s 1,610,184. That’s a slim margin of 20,682 votes. If there is a recount based on the court ruling, Trump could win Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes. 

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