Supreme Court delays absentee ballot mailings
Absentee ballot enclosed in the envelope. (Photo provided)

A Thursday order suspends further mailing until the court decides a case.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority on Thursday decided to stop absentee ballots from going out to voters just a week before the final ballot mailing deadline.

Conservative justices Pat Roggensack, Annette Ziegler, Rebecca Bradley, and Brian Hagedorn ruled that absentee ballots cannot be mailed until the court makes a final decision of whether to allow Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins on the Nov. 3 ballot. Hawkins is suing the Wisconsin Elections Commission for ballot access after commissioners deadlocked on the decision last month.

The ruling appears to be the latest right-wing effort to interfere with the November election, which is expected to have an unprecedented amount of voters casting ballots by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Republicans tried and failed to help get rapper Kanye West on the Wisconsin ballot to dilute the Black voting bloc; Postmaster General Louis DeJoy mysteriously ordered mail-sorting machines be removed in US Postal Service facilities across the country, including in Wisconsin; and President Donald Trump openly admitted last month to withholding $25 billion from USPS to hamstring mail-in voting.

Midday Thursday, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s majority ordered the Elections Commission to submit by 5 p.m. the names and addresses of any voter whose ballot had already been sent out. The order sent the WEC scrambling as it worked to gather the information from local and county election clerks. The Elections Commission subsequently canceled a meeting previously scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.

Liberal justice Ann Walsh Bradley lambasted the conservative majority’s order, calling it “impossible” to fulfill on a less-than-five-hour deadline.

“Given the breadth of the information requested and the minimal time allotted to obtain it, I fear that the majority of this court is asking the impossible of our approximately 1,850 municipal clerks throughout the state,” Bradley wrote in a dissent undersigned by fellow liberal justices Rebecca Dallet and Jill Karofsky.


West’s campaign is also suing the Elections Commission for ballot access, even though commissioners ruled 5-1 to block him from appearing on the ballot because his nomination papers were turned in after the deadline while containing numerous fraudulent signatures. It is unclear if the Supreme Court will use that lawsuit to further clamp down on mailed ballots.