Tue May 8, 2012
New law bars absentee voters from changing vote in person later
A new law being enforced for the first time in Tuesday's election will bar people who voted absentee from changing their vote in person. One clerk is warning that it could have unintended consequences.
Up until now it was legal in Wisconsin for people who voted absentee to show up at the polls on Election Day to change their vote. They didn't need a reason--it could be that they changed their minds.
State Government Accountability Board Spokesman Reid Magney says under a law signed by the governor this year, that's no longer an option, "Now, after you have mailed your absentee ballot in, you don't have the opportunity to go to the polling place anymore and to spoil that first vote and vote again."
The law took effect late last month. It was one of several bills that passed the legislature in the waning days of the last session.
Madison City Clerk Maribeth Witzel Behl says it could have unintended consequences, "So you can't put a ballot in the mail on election day and think--it might not get there on time and run to the polling place. Because that would be a felony now."
Witzel Behl says her office is also concerned about people with dementia voting absentee and then trying to vote again in person.
The new rule is one of several changes to election laws passed in the last couple years by Republican lawmakers.