Voting deputies cleared to return to Wisconsin nursing homes

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FILE – This May 26, 2020, file photo shows an Official Democratic General Primary mail-in ballot and secrecy envelope, for the Pennsylvania primary in Pittsburgh. Amid the global pandemic, more people than ever are expected to bypass their polling place and cast absentee ballots for the first time. Voters marking ballots from home could lead to an increase in the kinds of mistakes that typically would be caught by a scanner or election worker at the polls. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin election officials have cleared the way for special voting deputies to return to nursing homes ahead of the April 6 elections.

Wisconsin law allows municipal clerks to send deputies into nursing homes to help residents complete absentee ballots.

The state Elections Commission directed clerks not to send deputies to homes in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. That policy has remained in place.

Republican legislators last month challenged the commission to promulgate the policy as an emergency rule.

The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to direct clerks to contact nursing homes by March 12 to see if the facilities will allow deputies inside.

The commission also voted unanimously to start drawing up an emergency rule reflecting the new policy.

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