The League of Women Voters Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit today to prevent the state from rejecting mail-in absentee ballots that lack a witness signature.

The League argues in a filing those living alone under self-quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak or who do not otherwise want another adult in their homes during the outbreak would be unable to satisfy the requirement.

“While we appreciate the efforts by the state to expand voting in light of the pandemic, the Wisconsin law requiring a witness signature for every absentee ballot presents an unreasonable barrier to voters that does nothing to increase the safety of casting a ballot,” said Debra Cronmiller, the group’s executive director. “Not addressing this particular measure complicates the process for the voters of Wisconsin and would have the impact of depressing turnout or unnecessarily exposing vulnerable voters.”

The Fair Elections Center and Rathje Woodward LLC are representing the League in the case. Plaintiffs also include the Wisconsin Alliance of Retired Americans and four people affected by the law. The suit names all members of the Wisconsin Elections Commission board and Administrator Meagan Wolfe as defendants.

“It is unconscionable – and unconstitutional – to force people to choose between their health and their right to vote,” said Jon Sherman, senior counsel at Fair Election Center. “In the face of a global pandemic and emergency orders mandating self-isolation, a state law requirement to obtain a witness signature on a mail-in ballot simply cannot stand.”

See the release:

Read the filing:

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