Jeramey Jannene

No Election Results Until April 13th

Results won't be reported until next week, to allow time for all absentee ballots to arrive.

By - Apr 7th, 2020 05:34 pm
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Voters at Washington High School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Voters at Washington High School. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Don’t wait up tonight, the actual winners of the April 7th Spring Election won’t be announced on Tuesday. Or the next day.

In fact, ballots cast in person will not be recorded until April 13th, next week Monday, starting at 4 p.m. “All ballots will be placed in a secured bag and they will be under lock and key,” said Milwaukee County Election Commission director Julietta Henry during a media briefing Tuesday afternoon. Each municipality is required to secure its own ballots.

“No votes will be tallied election night at the polling places,” said Milwaukee County Clerk George L. Christenson.

That’s an explicit result of a federal court ruling by Judge William Conley and a subsequent appeals court ruling that allows by-mail ballots to arrive until April 13th. The US Supreme Court stripped a provision Monday evening that allowed ballots to be mailed after the 7th as long as they were received by the 13th at 4 p.m., but left in place the appeals court requirement that no results be revealed until the 13th. The requirement was intended to avoid a situation where results were coming out as ballots were still able to be cast.

The number of ballots may be counted according to Wisconsin Elections Commission guidelines, but the votes should not. The ballots are to be placed in secured bags with tamper-evident seals.

There will be some election data released on election night, but it won’t directly tell you who won.

The City of Milwaukee and other municipalities that use a central counting location for absentee ballots are required to post the number of absentee ballots issued and the number that have been returned by 8:00 p.m. on election day. The number of provisional ballots accepted, where voters didn’t have sufficient identification and must provide it by Friday, must also be reported.

Central count communities, where absentee ballots are processed at a central warehouse, are allowed to start processing ballots on election day. Milwaukee’s tabulation effort, including processing approximately 55,000 ballots received as of Monday, is already underway. But City of Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Neil Albrecht said he didn’t expect the city to finish the effort Tuesday.

Milwaukee and other municipalities can continue to process the absentee ballots that arrive after election day and those not processed on election day, but must do so under public meeting requirements.

In non-central count municipalities, absentee ballots are sent to the polling place as if the voter voted in-person and processed alongside the in-person ballots. In those communities, the absentee ballots already received must go into the secured bags. But according to WEC guidance, the communities can process ballots that come in after election day provided they notice a public meeting to do so.

All municipalities will process their in-person ballots after 4:00 p.m. on April 13th. “The process is public,” said Henry, who encouraged people to go watch.

Statewide 1.25 million absentee ballots were requested, including over 200,000 in Milwaukee County. Over 700,000 had been returned as of April 5th, including approximately 100,000 ballots in Milwaukee County. The City of Milwaukee had 45,000 ballots outstanding as of Monday evening.

The city’s 45,000 ballots included approximately 15,000 that Albrecht said won’t make it to voters. They were mailed too late to arrive and be postmarked back by the April 7th deadline.

There are also thousands of voters across the state that didn’t receive their ballot after requesting one weeks ago. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele revealed he’s among that group Tuesday afternoon.

“If you requested a ballot and didn’t get one, you can vote. I know because that happened to me,” said Abele. He voted in person at the South Division High School polling place. The issue primarily affects voters that had their ballots reported as mailed on March 22nd and March 23rd

Polls close at 8 p.m.

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Categories: Politics

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