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Witness requirement confusing absentee voters

Local News

APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) We are exactly a month and a day away — from what’s expected to be — a very tight presidential election.

For voters, there may be one question that’s not even on the ballot, more important than who’s going to be the next president– how do you make sure your absentee ballot is not only counted, but counted correctly?

Jeanne Roberts, with the Appleton League of Women Voters, says, “The mission of the League of Women Voters is to empower voters and the best way to do this is to help have more people voting.”

The League of Women Voters along with several other Plaintiffs, unsuccessfully challenged the witness mandate required for absentee voting in Wisconsin– citing the risks COVID-19 presents to safely finding a witness to sign your ballot.

Reid Magney with the Wisconsin Elections Commission says, “There have been lawsuits in other places around the country about this, but please try to focus on here’s what’s happening in Wisconsin.”

Some voters still question if their absentee ballot needs a witness signature or not?

Magney says, “In Wisconsin, you have to have a witness and you have to have the witnesses signatures and address on that form.”

Roberts says, “The League of Women Voters of Appleton does have volunteers who can be witnesses for anybody who doesn’t have a witness for their absentee ballot.”

Some voters also report they’ve received duplicate absentee ballots but Appleton’s city clerk says that’s unlikely.

Kami Lynch, Appleton’s City Clerk says, “The system will not allow a voter to receive more than one absentee ballot. If you receive your absentee ballot back, its for a reason, because the certification on the envelope was perhaps insufficient.”

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, 20,000 absentee ballots didn’t county in the April primaries, because of missing information, so make sure your witness is over the age of 18 and a U.S. citizen.

Magney says, “It could be your spouse, it could be your brother or sister or even someone who comes to the house to deliver a package. The law says that your ballot has to be back to your clerk or your polling place by 8 pm on election day.”

You can keep up with status of your absentee ballot by visiting

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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