GOP scores victory in Wisconsin case regarding absentee ballot spoiling

According to CBS News, a Wisconsin judge just ruled that ballot spoiling is illegal. 

Ballot spoiling is the practice whereby a voter, after casting an absentee ballot, can cancel it and cast a new one.

It is not a common practice in America, and for obvious reasons: just imagine being a local election official and everyone who submits an absentee ballot has the opportunity to essentially call up, cancel the ballot, and submit a new one. It’s a logistical nightmare that could very easily lead to all kinds of chaos.

Nonetheless, Wisconsin is one state that has been trying to implement the practice.

The lawsuit

Back on Aug. 1, Wisconsin’s elections commission sent out guidance to some 1,800 Wisconsin election clerks explaining how the clerks can cancel or “spoil” an absentee ballot, at the request of the voter, after the voter had submitted it.

Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) challenged this guidance in a lawsuit that it brought on behalf of a Brookfield voter named Nancy Kormanik.

RITE is a Republican-backed group with the mission of “protecting the Constitution and the Right to Vote.” It was formed by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, Karl Rove, the longtime Republican strategist, Steve Wynn, a GOP donor, and others.

On the other side of the lawsuit are the Wisconsin Elections Commission and the Democratic National Committee.

RITE, in the lawsuit, made several arguments, including that ballot spoiling is illegal, that it can create confusion, and that it can present opportunities for fraud.

The decision

On Wednesday, Waukesha County Circuit Judge Brad Schimel sided with RITE, ruling that the practice of ballot spoiling is illegal. Schimel has, accordingly, ordered the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rescind its guidance on ballot spoiling.

It is not immediately clear whether the commission and the Democrats are going to appeal the decision. They have yet to comment on it.

For now, the Republicans are celebrating the ruling, with RITE President Derek Lyons calling it “another major victory for Wisconsin voters.” Lyons added, “WEC’s unlawful guidance destroys voter confidence and taints the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections. Once a vote is cast, it is cast. Period.”

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