State of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Voter Assistance Limitations Challenge

Carey v. Wisconsin Elections Commission

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Wisconsin voters with disabilities against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) and its administrator Meagan Wolfe challenging the agency’s new guidance that absentee ballots must be physically returned by the voter who filled them out “without the use of a third party or agent.” The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently banned the use of drop boxes and most third-party ballot collection efforts, but did not rule on whether “the law permits a voter’s agent to place an absentee ballot in the mail on the voter’s behalf.” Following this decision, the WEC issued guidance stating that voters must return their own ballots without any assistance, which includes placing their own ballots in the mail. The plaintiffs allege this  limit on voter assistance violates three federal laws: Section 105 of the Voting Rights Act by denying the right of assistance in returning an absentee ballot, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by discriminating on the basis of disability by recipients of federal financial assistance and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating on the basis of disability by state and local government entities. Additionally, two plaintiffs who have disabilities affecting their ability to travel to their polling location include a fourth claim that the voter assistance limitation violates their First and 14th Amendment rights by placing an undue burden on the right to vote. The plaintiffs ask for the court to prevent the enforcement of this limitation on ballot-return assistance. On, Aug. 31, the court enjoined the WEC from enforcing the guidance.

Case Documents

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