MADISON, Wisconsin — Republicans in Wisconsin are raising questions about the large number of people, particularly new voters, who avoided having to show a photo ID to vote by listing themselves as “indefinitely confined.”
When requesting an absentee ballot, Wisconsin law allows voters to self-certify if they are “indefinitely confined” to their residence because of age, physical illness, or are disabled for an indefinite period of time. Doing so allows them to submit an absentee ballot without having to show any form of photo ID, although they must have a ballot witness sign off.
This year, the number of indefinitely confined voters soared amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Republicans saying they are concerned about potential fraud. In 2019, about 72,000 voters said they were indefinitely confined. That number reportedly ballooned to 243,000 this year.
Controversy arose in March, when the clerk of Dane County posted on social media that the governor’s lockdown order met the threshold for voters to be indefinably confined. Milwaukee County also issued similar guidance. But the state’s Supreme Court later sided with the GOP and said that the clerk’s “advice was legally incorrect.” Despite that, if a voter listed themselves as indefinitely confined during the primaries, an absentee ballot was automatically sent to them for the general election.
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