Wisconsin clerks guarding ballots for days before counting; Missing absentees spur questions and anger

absentee ballot

MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin’s chaotic presidential primary election has ended for voters, but it’s far from finished for nearly 2,000 local clerks who have to guard ballots until counting begins Monday.

Clerks usually count ballots on election day, but federal court rulings have said clerks can accept absentee ballots postmarked by election day through Monday and that counting can’t begin until that afternoon. Clerks will have to keep the ballots secure until then and guard against tampering and leaks of results.

Janesville City Clerk David Godek has locked his voting machines and ballots in a room in City Hall.

Missing absentees spur questions, anger

The U.S. Postal Service and election officials are searching for answers about why an untold number of absentee ballots never made it to voters in Wisconsin who didn’t want to risk contracting the coronavirus by voting at the polls in the state’s presidential primary.

Under a Monday ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, all absentee ballots sent to voters had to be postmarked by Tuesday’s election to be counted.

But many voters said they never got the ballots by the election. It’s unknown how many voters were affected, but reports have come from around the state.