State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Absentee Ballot Envelope Challenge

Oldenburg v. Wisconsin Elections Commission

Lawsuit filed by a Wisconsin voter against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) challenging the state’s new absentee ballot envelope. In Wisconsin, any returned absentee ballots must include a copy of the original ballot request signed by the voter in order to be counted. Voters can request an absentee ballot through the statewide online voting portal MyVote, which sends the request form via email to the local municipal clerk on behalf of the voter to simplify the ballot request process. In August 2023, WEC approved the use of a new “absentee certificate envelope” design that can be used as a copy of the original request form to certify an absentee ballot. The plaintiff argues that WEC’s new envelope design violates Wisconsin law, and asks the court to ban the use of these envelopes as a substitute for the original ballot request. Additionally, the plaintiff is seeking an order requiring that all absentee ballots requested online must include a copy of the request form bearing the voter’s signature. 

On May 17, 2024, the trial court temporarily banned WEC from using the new envelopes in the August 2024 primary election. On May 29, the court granted the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Disability Rights Wisconsin’s request to intervene. On May 31, the court granted the Democratic National Committee’s motion to intervene.

STATUS: The new envelope design is temporarily blocked in Wisconsin, meaning voters must include the original ballot request form with their absentee ballot. Several motions are pending before the trial court. A hearing is scheduled for June 5, 2024.

Case Documents

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