By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Wisconsin’s last election in April was certainly historical, but not for the reasons people would want it to be. With the pandemic in full swing, Wisconsin struggled with how to handle the election.
While eligible and registered voters were encouraged to request an absentee ballot, the high demand caused a delay and many voters never received a ballot. Others were forced to vote in person, but voting sites were limited and the lines were long.
After the election results were released a week later, Wisconsin waited to see if in-person voting would increase its numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. While the numbers weren’t significant enough, it begged the question how was Wisconsin going to handle the upcoming fall election.
Earlier this week, the Journal Sentinel reported that election officials agreed to send absentee ballot applications to voters in the fall. According to the article, the mailings don’t contain the ballots themselves, but the forms needed to request a ballot and information on how to do so online at myvote.wi.gov.
To request a ballot, an individual will need to be a registered voter, have a photo ID and make the request before the election, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Before the mailing can be sent, the commission will need to agree on the phrasing of the letter, the Journal Sentinel reported. If a letter is agreed upon and signed off then the mailing of the letter would cost about $2.25 million, but would be funded by the $7.3 million grant Wisconsin received from Congress to cover the cost of elections during the pandemic, according to the Journal Sentinel.
According to the Wisconsin Public Radio, the letter would be sent to 2.7 million registered voters.
In a tweet, Gov. Tony Evers wrote, “Absentee voting is simply the safest way for folks to vote for the foreseeable future. I am happy to see the Commission acting to protect the health and safety of voters while ensuring the continued success of our democracy.”
The week before, Evers wrote a letter to the Wisconsin Election Commission. He noted that April saw a record high in absentee voting, a trend that is likely to continue at the next election. Evers asked that the commission make absentee ballots as accessible as possible.
Although the Commission still has a few matters to decide on, for now the plans is to mail the absentee ballot request forms to registered voters in the state of Wisconsin.