750 Milwaukee ballots invalidated over witnesses

Absentee Ballot for the April 7 election

MILWAUKEE — The city of Milwaukee’s top election official says hundreds of absentee ballots filed without a witness signature during the roughly 24 hours a federal judge said the requirement didn’t apply won’t count.

U.S District Judge William Conley on Thursday lifted the witness signature requirement for absentee voters in light of social distancing mandates to slow the coronavirus. A federal appellate court reinstated the requirement the next day. State election officials have said ballots filed without a witness signature are therefore invalid and voters who cast them can’t vote again in any way.

Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht says that as of Tuesday afternoon the city had received 750 absentee ballots without a witness signature. He says those ballots will not count.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett apologized Tuesday for the election, saying it’s embarrassing that the Republican-controlled Legislature didn’t postpone the election and now tens of thousands of people to choose between voting and risking infection at the polls.

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