MADISON, WI – Wisconsin’s military and overseas voters whose absentee ballots were delayed by local election officials will have additional time for those ballots to be counted in the April 3, 2012 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary under terms of a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Official absentee ballots for approximately 227 military and overseas voters were sent after the February 18 deadline, and those voters will receive extensions equal to the number of days the ballots were late, ranging from two days to three weeks. Also, 347 municipalities failed to respond to an official survey about absentee ballots. Their ballot counting deadlines will be extended if they were late in transmitting ballots to military and overseas voters.
All military and overseas ballots that are voted and postmarked on or before Election Day, and which have been properly signed and witnessed, will be counted if they are received by the local clerk’s office by new deadlines. The normal deadline for their return is 4 p.m. on the Friday after the election.
To request an absentee ballot, military and overseas electors should contact their local municipal clerk’s office. A directory of clerk’s offices is available on the Government Accountability Board’s website: http://gab.wi.gov/clerks/directory. Military and overseas voters may also use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form to submit their absentee ballot request. The FPCA is available on the Board’s website (http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/military-overseas) as well as the website of the Federal Voting Assistance Program (http://www.fvap.gov).
Military and overseas voters may determine their registration status, view a sample ballot and track the status of their absentee ballot through the Board’s Voter Public Access website: https://vpa.wi.gov/.
In the April 3, 2012 Presidential Preference Primary, Wisconsin’s Republican and Democratic party nominees for President of the United States will be chosen. There are no other statewide elections on the ballot. Voters in some counties may have elections for judicial office, as well as for nonpartisan county, municipal and school board offices and referenda.
The names of all federal and state candidates appearing on the ballot in the April 3 Spring Election and Presidential Preference Primary are available on the Board’s website: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/2012/spring.
Military and overseas electors with questions about the absentee voting process may contact the Board by calling 608-261-2028, or 1-866-VOTE-WIS (toll-free), or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about military and overseas voting is available on the Board’s website: http://gab.wi.gov/elections-voting/voters/military-overseas.
Under terms of a consent decree, approved March 23, 2012, by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the state of Wisconsin agreed to take certain steps to ensure military and overseas voters are able to fully participate in the April 3 election. Under the consent decree, the state agreed to:
• Extend the deadlines for ballots from late municipalities by the number of days the ballots were sent late.
• Take all steps necessary to contact any affected voters by email to notify them that if they have not yet received their ballots, they may choose to receive their ballots by FAX or email, instead of by postal mail.
• Establish a procedure providing which ballot shall be counted if both a mail and email ballot are returned, and notify all affected voters of these rules.
• Communicate to military and overseas voters that the deadline for returning absentee ballots has been extended by sending a news release to international publications and websites explaining the new deadline.
• Provide reports to the federal government by May 18 regarding the numbers of absentee ballots received and counted both before and after the April 3 election.
• Continue to survey local election officials about compliance with the MOVE Act prior to the remaining 2012 federal elections.
A complete copy of the consent decree will be available on the Board’s website:
Reid Magney, public information officer, 608-267-7887
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