Republicans in Wisconsin say that thousands of voters avoided identification laws by claiming to be “indefinitely confined” and requesting an absentee ballot, the Washington Examiner reports.
Wisconsin law allows a voter to self-report that they are indefinitely confined in their home due to age, illness, or disability, allowing them to receive a mail-in ballot as long as a witness signs off. The number of indefinitely confined voters rose dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic, from around 72,000 in 2019 to about 243,000 in 2020.
Several counties in the state did issue guidance in March saying that the governor’s lockdown order met the requirement for being indefinitely confined, but the state Supreme Court later ruled that that “advice was legally incorrect,” though voters who had listed themselves as being confined during the primary season did end up receiving absentee ballots in the general election.
“At what point does it become fraud?” An unnamed GOP official asked in an interview with the Examiner. “I think it became fraud in April, when people were listing themselves as indefinitely confined when they were not. And that was just allowed to continue and get worse and worse.”
The official added that the state Supreme Court did not provide a definitive ruling regarding voters who had already listed themselves as being indefinitely confined.
Kenneth Dragotta, a member of the board of the Waukesha County Republican Party, told the Examiner: “So you can register as indefinitely confined, and a ballot is going to be sent to you every election. You don’t even have to request it. But here’s the problem.
Indefinitely confined people are not required to provide proof of identification or an ID card. There’s no requirement that that be in the hands of the election commission or the municipal clerk prior to issuing a ballot.
You don’t even have a voter ID requirement on those people that registered. All you have is proof of residency that is required. But does that sound like a really robust, safe election process? I think not.”