Wisconsin voters living overseas will have until November 19th to return ballots for the state’s November 2nd general election, under terms of an agreement with the federal government. Wisconsin was not in compliance with a new federal law – the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act – which requires states to make ballots available to military and overseas voters at least 45 days before the election.
By sending absentee ballots by October 1 and counting them until November 19, the state will be giving military and overseas voters a total of 50 days to receive, cast and return their ballots for counting. “This provides additional assurance that Wisconsin’s citizens in the military and overseas will be able to fully participate in the election,” said Kevin J. Kennedy, director and general counsel of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board. “This resolution means they will have even more time to receive their ballot, mark it and have it counted.”
“The agreement will place some additional burdens on the G.A.B., as well as our local election partners, the 72 county and 1,851 municipal clerks,” said Nathaniel E. Robinson, G.A. B. Elections Division administrator. “We very much appreciate the extra efforts that municipal and county clerks make to ensure our military and overseas voters get the opportunity to cast their ballots.”
In Auguest, the Defense Department had denied Wisconsin a waiver after officials here argued that they would be unable to meet a September 18th deadline for mailing ballots from the September 14th primary. The agreement announced Friday between the state and the U.S. Justice Department extends the deadline for ballots to be counted after the election from 10 days to 17 days. The state also agrees to send out the final ballots a day sooner.