Over 200,000 ‘Indefinitely Confined’ Voters in Wisconsin

Three Wisconsin voters filed a lawsuit on November 13 alleging that there is “sufficient evidence that illegal votes were counted” in three heavily Democratic counties — Milwaukee, Dane, and Menominee. These votes were of sufficient volume as to “to change or place in doubt the results” of the presidential election in those counties.

The number of voters self-reported as “indefinitely confined” increased dramatically by 238 percent from 72,000 last year to 243,900 this year in Wisconsin. The term refers to a type of absentee ballot registration where the voter wouldn’t need to present the ID normally required for an absentee ballot. Wisconsin law regarding voter ID provides exceptions for individuals who declare as “indefinitely confined” either due to age, physical illness, infirmity, or disability. In the past, this has only applied to individuals who effectively cannot leave their residence to vote.

“The suit alleged that the town of Menominee in Menominee County in early spring ‘encouraged’ voters to vote absentee and provided instructions (pdf) that said ‘indefinitely confined’ voters ‘are not required to provide a photo ID.’ The suit also noted that Dane County and Milwaukee County earlier this year had “openly advised voters to indicate that they are ‘indefinitely confined.’ All three counties saw notable increases in ‘indefinitely confined’ voters.”

The Republican Party of Wisconsin said earlier this year that the clerks’ advice in the respective counties were “willfully ignoring” state election law, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court subsequently ruled that the counties’ advice were “legally incorrect.”

The plaintiffs also noted the situation surrounding absentee ballot witness signatures and their addresses on the ballot envelope.

Under Wisconsin law, a ballot cannot be counted if the witness’s address is not present. However, the plaintiffs noted how the Wisconsin Elections Commission had issued guidance (pdf) saying that the issue could be cured by the clerk without the witness appearing.

The suit argued that the clerks “have no authority to accept the ballot,” and cites how Wisconsin law states (pdf) that “if a certificate is missing the address of a witness, the ballot may not be counted.”

The suit also pointed out several individuals, identified by their initials only, who alleged that they encountered voting irregularities, which included having received unsolicited ballots, or having received more absentee ballots than expected, and finding names of deceased voters who, according to myvotewi.gov, cast an absentee vote.

This civil action, if successful, would invalidate over 792,000 votes cast across the state. The voters asked the court to declare that the counties’ results “must be invalidated” and to block the counties from certifying their results.

The Election Wizard reported on December 14 that the Wisconsin Supreme Court “says local elections officials were wrong to suggest that voters could claim the status of ‘indefinitely confined’ based on COVID-19. The presence of a communicable disease such as COVID-19, in and of itself, does not entitle all electors [voters] in Wisconsin to obtain an absentee ballot. The majority decision also held that if voters falsely claimed they were indefinitely confined ‘their ballots would not count.’ But the court noted that a determination must be made in every case before tossing a ballot.”

Biden’s lead over Trump in Wisconsin is 20,682 votes.