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Election Results: When will Wisconsin’s ballots be counted by?

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At this point, it is common knowledge that the full results of the 2020 presidential election will not be known on Election Night. The pandemic has pushed voters to overload state election systems as well as the United States Postal Service with tens of millions of postal ballot (both “mail-in” and “absentee”) requests, something which nearly all states were unprepared for. It’ll all come down to the swing states, as per usual. This time, however, it’s a question of when we’ll get these results.

We’ve talked about when Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan‘s election results might be released—now let’s look at another swing state: Wisconsin.

For an explanation about the difference between mail-in and absentee ballots, check out this piece here by Ben Wilson: The Difference Between Absentee and Mail-In Ballots.

Like Michigan, Wisconsin is (or was) considered part of the Democrats’ “Blue Wall” of support in the Great Lakes region. Here, blue-collar support has traditionally been strong and well-organized, with this bloc of voters having voted Democratic for decades. That changed in 2016, when a certain Donald Trump became the Republicans’ nominee for president. Trump won the state with less than 23,000 votes.

Ordinarily, 6% of Badger State voters cast absentee ballots, according to The Wisconsin State Journal.

“But this year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, a record-high number of ballots are being cast absentee,” said The State Journal. “As of Tuesday, more than 915,000 absentee ballots had been returned out of 1.4 million requested. That is 30% of the total ballots cast in 2016.”

Additionally, for a ballot to be counted, it must be received by the election clerk by 8 pm (Central Time). However, that could change. The State Journal reports that the U.S. Supreme Court is contemplating “a lawsuit that seeks to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots received by Nov. 9.”

This law could severely delay the results for quite a few days by creating a backlog of ballots that, on Election Day, election workers have to count on top of the votes from polling stations that very day.

Further complicating matters, Wisconsin has a specific rule which mandates that the vote count cannot be paused, even for an evening, until all the ballots are counted. According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, this law “doesn’t allow local officials to stop their count and reconvene the next morning, so many of them will have to pull an all-nighter.”

Assembling all these details together, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that most of Wisconsin’s results will be revealed within a week after November 3. Regardless, so many variables are up in the air and, as I’ve said previously in this series, anything can happen—especially in 2020.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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GOP bill proposes extra measures to ensure noncitizens are unable to vote in federal elections

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GOP members of both the U.S. House and Senate introduced a bill to add safeguards to ensure that non U.S. citizens who are already prohibited from voting in federal elections, do not do so. The bill seeks to amend the National Voter Registration Act to require documentary proof of United States citizenship to register to vote.

The Center Square reports that It would require states to obtain proof of citizenship – in person – when registering an individual to vote. Applicants would have to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote in person, when applying for a motor vehicle license, and when applying to vote by mail. The bill lists accepted citizenship documentation and requirements for voter registration agencies.

U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, led a coalition of 49 Republicans to introduce the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility (SAVE) Act in the U.S. House. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, with several cosponsors, introduced the same bill in the Senate.

Citing the border crisis and the greatest number of foreign nationals illegally entering the country in U.S. history, the measure’s supporters expressed alarm that instead of being deported, many are being registered to vote.

“There is currently an unprecedented and a clear and present danger to the integrity of our election system,” House Speaker Mike Johnson said. “And that is the threat of non-citizens and illegal aliens voting in our elections. In the last five and a half months or so, I’ve been to over 101 cities doing events all around the country in more than half the states. The first or second question that I’m asked in every public forum is about election security. Americans are deeply concerned about this. And it doesn’t matter where you live or whether you’re in a blue state or a red state, everyone’s concerned.”

Johnson blamed President Joe Biden and his administration’s policies for for what he described as widespread concern about election integrity.

“… we now have so many non-citizens in the country that if only one out of 100 of those voted, they would cast hundreds of thousands of votes,” the speaker added. “And since our elections are so razor thin in these days that we’re in, just a few precincts in a few states decide the makeup of Congress and who is elected to the White House. This is a dangerously high number, and it’s a great concern to millions and millions of Americans. It could obviously change the outcome of our elections, and this is not an empty threat or concern.”

It is already a federal crime for non-citizens to vote in a federal election. Despite this, Johnson said, “no current mechanism to ensure only those registering or voting are actually citizens. … If a nefarious actor wants to intervene in our elections, all they have to do is check a box on a form and sign their name. That’s it. That’s all that’s required. And there’s a very small chance that illegal would get caught [because] states do not have the election infrastructure in place to confirm what they’ve said.”

Johnson said noncitizens “can simply go to their local welfare office or the DMV and register to vote there,” adding that “states are currently prohibited from asking someone to prove that they’re a citizen when they use the federal voter registration form.”

He also gave examples of “a growing number of localities” that are “blurring the lines for non-citizens by allowing them to vote in municipal local elections.

“You might not know this, but non-citizens are voting,” he warned Americans. “Democrats have expressed a desire to turn on citizens and voters. That’s what this open border has been all about.”

Roy said the proposed SAVE Act “would thwart Democrat efforts to cement one-party rule by upholding and strengthening current law that permits only U.S. citizens to vote in Federal elections.”

Lee said the bill should “pass right away” and unanimously in both houses of Congress. “The only reason to oppose this … would be if you want noncitizens to vote.”

It also would create a new program requiring the Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration to share information with state registration systems. States would be required to identify noncitizens attempting to register to vote by accessing data in DHS’ Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program and the SSA’s Social Security Number Verification Service. The information would be compared with data from state agencies that supply state identification cards or driver’s licenses.

The bill also would require states to remove non-citizens from existing voter rolls and increases federal penalties for those who register non-citizens to vote in federal elections.

 

 

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