Wisconsin Military Voters Told To Turn In Ballots…A Week Late

Posted by Charlotte Webster

During the 2004 presidential campaign, the satirical website The Onion published a humorous fake news story that depicted Republican operative urging minorities to vote… a day too late.

That was pure satire.

This story, though, is real:

Elections officials staffing the federal voting assistance website listed an incorrect deadline for receiving absentee military ballots in Wisconsin. The website listed November 16th as the deadline. The actual deadline is 4 p.m. November 9th – the Friday following the election.

Here’s a screen grab, taken from the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s website:


Wisconsin military voting dates 

The snafu was apparently first detected by MacIver News Service, itself an arm of the MacIver Institute of Public Policy. The organization is a Wisconsin-based think-tank that promotes conservative politics and ideology.

Wisconsin is considered a battleground state in this years’ presidential election. Military ballots historically trend towards Republicans. The error could have led to hundreds of Wisconsin military ballots arriving too late to be counted in the election. The error could have turned the state, in the event of a tight race.

Wisconsin has 10 electoral votes.

 If you are a Wisconsin resident, you can request an absentee ballot be emailed or to you by emailing your municipal clerk. Wisconsin does not allow you to return your ballot electronically.

According to a recent Pew study it takes 26 days, on average, for a Wisconsin absentee voter to navigate the absentee voting system, obtain a ballot, fill it out, and mail the ballot in where it can be counted. So backwards time-plan accordingly.

Wisconsin does not require military absentee voters to register ahead of time.

What I Never Receive My Ballot?

Fortunately, if Wisconsin – or any other state – fails to send your ballot on time, or if they sent it but for whatever reason you didn’t receive it, or you lost it, there is a back-up plan available: Download the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, or FWAB. This ballot, good in all 50 states, is intended for military and other absentee voters who haven’t gotten their ballots with 30 days or less left to go before the election.

Just write in your preferences – clearly and legibly, please, from your municipality’s sample ballot – and return it according to the instructions. 


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