Veterans and Merchant Marine Captain Seek To Protect Military Absentee Ballots in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Nov. 7, the Union Veterans Council and Merchant Marine Captain Timothy McDonald filed a motion to intervene to safeguard the counting of military absentee ballots after a lawsuit filed against the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) alleging that WEC must immediately sequester and stop counting absentee ballots completed by voters in the military.

The lawsuit, which was brought on behalf of the Concerned Veterans of Waukesha County, Wisconsin, two Wisconsin voters and state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R), was filed after Milwaukee Elections Commissioner Deputy Director Kimberly Zapata illegally requested three military absentee ballots under fake names and sent them to Brandtjen; Zapata was later fired and charged with a felony for doing so.

Pointing to this incident, the plaintiffs allege that “vulnerability” with WEC’s system for distributing military absentee ballots “has been exposed” and that clerks are not required to have “an up-to-date, complete, verified, current, accurate and distributed military elector list” in violation with Wisconsin law. Due to this alleged violation, the lawsuit asks that all military absentee ballots be “sequestered” so that “verification can be completed before they are counted” to prevent any ballots “cast by non-qualified persons casting military elector absentee ballots, if any, from being counted.”

In their motion to intervene, the Union Veterans Council and Captain McDonald argue that the plaintiffs’ request to segregate thousands of military voters’ ballots just four days before the election is an “ill-conceived quest to disenfranchise Wisconsin service members who voted absentee in reliance on settled WEC guidance.”

Furthermore, the motion alleges that, if the court grants the plaintiffs’ requested relief, Wisconsin military voters “will face new uncertainty about how and when to cast the military absentee ballots on which [they] rel[y] and may even have future ballots rejected if new restrictions on military absentee balloting are imposed by the Court.” 

Read the motion to intervene here.

Learn more about the case here.