Wisconsin Mail-In Ballot Extension Blocked By Supreme Court
On Monday, October 26th, the Supreme Court ruled that Wisconsin mail-in ballots that were received beyond Election Day (Tuesday, November 3rd) would not be counted. This ruling dictates that even ballots that have been postmarked prior to November 3rd will lack heft in this year’s election. In a 5-3 vote, the Supreme Court sided with Wisconsin Republicans, who were in opposition of extending the deadline for mail-in ballots. With that said, Wisconsin Democrats are irate.
Mail-in voting has risen in popularity due to the ongoing pandemic. Voters are eager to be able to cast their votes without risking possible COVID exposure while doing so. This is not the first restrictive policy to be passed regarding voting during the pandemic. For April’s election, Milwaukee, a predominantly Democratic metropolitan city in Wisconsin with nearly 180 polling places open to its approximately 600,000 citizens, only decided to open five polling stations. This decision caused large bunches of people to crowd into five locations, spreading the COVID-19 virus. Why do law and policymakers find it just to force people into populus polling stations in the midst of a pandemic — not to mention the recent surge in Wisconsin COVID cases.
Since Wisconsin is, in fact, a swing state, and thus, an integral player in this year’s election, people still need to do whatever they can to make sure that their vote will count. While mail-in ballots will no longer be counted if received beyond November 3rd, there are still a few ways to ensure that your vote is counted. First, rather than mailing your ballot at this point, it would be wiser to find a ballot drop box to put it in. Prior to Friday, October 30th, early voting would have been another option. The final option would be to vote in-person on November 3rd at your local polling place. There are social distancing regulations in place at most polling places, so while voting in-person during a pandemic can seem daunting, there is no need to fret, as long as you are abiding by the rules, and doing your part to slow the spread at polling places. Most voting stations encourage you to bring your own pen now, and if you do not happen to do so, they will give you a pen to keep. Bringing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes could not hurt either.
Regardless of if you decide to vote in-person or by ballot box, please remember that your vote matters. In this tense political climate, every voice counts towards change. If you know someone who is not yet registered to vote, please encourage them to go to their local polling place and register on Election Day. Please, exercise your right to vote, and please encourage everyone around you to do the same. This is going to be a historic election, regardless of who the victor is turns out to be.