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Over 500 absentee ballots not counted

Over 500 absentee ballots not counted Over 500 absentee ballots not counted

Five hundred and seventy five absentee ballots cast in the April 7 election were disqualifi ed, Marathon County Clerk Kim Trueblood reported on Tuesday.

This number of disqualifi ed ballots calculates to 2.5 percent of the 22,338 absentee ballots submitted in the spring election. It is 1.6 percent of all 36,695 votes cast. Trueblood said there were many reasons for the absentee ballots to be disqualified, including lack of a proper signature, no postmark or showing up after an April 13 cut-off date for absentee ballots set by federal judge William Conley.

Trueblood said “there were too many absentee ballots” in the spring election and complained that state officials, following court challenges that went to both the U.S. Supreme Court and Wisconsin Supreme Court, continued to change election procedures up until Election Day.

“The rules kept changing back and forth,” she said.

Trueblood blamed Gov. Tony Evers for the election problems. “The governor kept moving the goalposts,” she said.

Trueblood said the answer to the absentee ballot problem was not to have absentee ballots and, instead, go back to inperson voting. The clerk said absentee ballot voting is subject to voter fraud.

Both state and municipal officials have urged voters to submit absentee ballots as an alternative to voting in person at local voting sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trueblood said, however, that voting in-person has not been shown to be a factor in the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.

“There have been no spikes since the election,” she said.

According to press reports, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik said there appears to be seven people in her city who contracted COVID- 19 though election-related activities.

Asked about that, Trueblood said that Kowalik’s assessment was “partisan.”

Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, disputed Trueblood’s assertion that absentee ballots are subject to voter fraud.

“We are not seeing that,” he said, adding that any instances of voter fraud tend to be extremely rare.

Cronmiller said, too, she worried that people in Wisconsin who did vote in person at polling places could have been infected by the COVID-19 virus. She said Milwaukee but also Green Bay have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases since the election. Both cities had congested polling places in April 7 voting, Cronmiller said. In Green Bay, she said, 31 polling places were consolidated to two. Milwaukee consolidated polling places from 180 to five. The polling places were consolidated largely because of a lack of polling workers.

Other press reports, however, have disputed that April 7 voting had anything to do with higher instances of confirmed COVID-19 cases. A spike in Green Bay cases, for example, reportedly has been traced by the federal Center for Disease Control to employees at a beef packing plant.