Last Updated on November 8, 2020
Poll workers handling absentee ballots in Wisconsin received direction from election authorities to illegally alter ballots with missing information. The missing information – by law – made those absentee ballots invalid and ineligible to be included in tabulation.
But a report coming out of Wisconsin reveals that poll workers and ballot counters were given instruction by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) to write in missing absentee ballot witness information on ballots that were missing that information.
Wisconsin law mandates that an absentee ballot requires a signature from a witness who also lists his or her address. This is to prevent voter fraud. Should a ballot not contain this witness information – including the witnesses address, the ballot is disallowed. It must be returned to the voter so that the witness can provide the required information or be rendered a spoiled ballot and excluded from tabulations.
The WEC illegally – and knowingly so – advised election workers to write in the addresses. By following the guidance issued by the WEC, poll workers in fact rendered the ballots invalid.
“The statute is very, very clear,” said retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. “If an absentee ballot does not have a witness address on it, it’s not valid. That ballot is not valid.”
“In defiance of and in direct contradiction to the statute, the Wisconsin Elections Commission gave guidance – that is, cover – to all 72 county clerks and turned the statute on his head,” Gableman explained. “They said, ‘Gee, we know the law says an absentee ballot without the witness address is not valid, but county clerk, you have a duty to go ahead and look up on your own the witness’ address if there’s no address on the absentee ballot.”
Wisconsin Clerks May Have Unlawfully Altered Thousands of Absentee Ballots https://t.co/BjRbx85eih
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) November 8, 2020
According to radio show host Dan O’Donnell, “The WEC sent uniform instructions to voters with their mail-in ballots that informed them that ‘your witness must sign and provide their full address (street number, street name, city) in the Certification of Witness section’ and warned that ‘if any of the required information above is missing, your ballot will not be counted.’”
O’Donnell further reported that evidence shows the WEC provided follow-up to clerks in October instructing them to fill-in the witness address portion of the ballot themselves so the ballots would be invalidated.
“Please note that the clerk should attempt to resolve any missing witness address information prior to Election Day if possible, and this can be done through reliable information (personal knowledge, voter registration information, through a phone call with the voter or witness),” the WEC wrote. “The witness does not need to appear to add a missing address.”
The Wisconsin GOP estimates that thousands of witness addresses were changed, thus invalidating the ballots on which they appeared. The legally binding remedy for this is to disallow those ballots and subtract a commensurate number of votes from the totals for the corresponding candidates. This means Wisconsin’s vote totals will substantially change if the law is followed.
As it stands, Joe Biden won the state by roughly 20,000 votes.