Wisconsin Republican Party officials claim thousands of first-time voters circumvented the state’s new voter ID requirement by listing themselves as “indefinitely confined.”
Wisconsin state law requires almost everyone voting in person or requesting an absentee ballot to provide a photo ID so an election inspector or poll worker can confirm their identity. But there is a loophole.
As the Washington Examiner reports:
When requesting an absentee ballot, Wisconsin law allows voters to self-certify if they are “indefinitely confined” to their residence because of age, physical illness, or are disabled for an indefinite period of time. Doing so allows them to submit an absentee ballot without having to show any form of photo ID, although they must have a ballot witness sign off.
This year, the number of indefinitely confined voters soared amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Republicans saying they are concerned about potential fraud. In 2019, about 72,000 voters said they were indefinitely confined. That number reportedly ballooned to 243,000 this year.
Reported President-elect Joe Biden currently leads President Donald Trump in Wisconsin by 20,599 votes.
Controversy arose in March, when the clerk of Dane County posted on social media that the governor’s lockdown order met the threshold for voters to be indefinably confined. Milwaukee County also issued similar guidance. But the state’s Supreme Court later sided with the GOP and said that the clerk’s “advice was legally incorrect.” Despite that, if a voter listed themselves as indefinitely confined during the primaries, an absentee ballot was automatically sent to them for the general election.
A GOP official told the Washington Examiner on Monday that thousands may have voted without showing a photo ID because of the confusion. The official asserted that Republicans know the system of marking oneself as indefinitely confined has been abused in Wisconsin.
“It was a net loss for us, no question about it,” the official concluded.