On April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision declining to extend the deadline for absentee voting in today’s elections in Wisconsin by six days.
Due to rising health concerns, an unprecedented number of Wisconsin voters – recently encouraged by public officials – have turned to voting absentee. This has put a strain on election clerks that need to send out ballots, creating a backlog. News reports indicate tens of thousands of voters will not receive absentee ballots in time to send them back.
The chaotic struggle over the Wisconsin primary that broke out yesterday sent a chilling message about ballot access issues in November.
States should heed this message and make preparations now to assure that we will not have similar problems with the general election this fall. Every state needs to have a way for citizens to vote by mail if they choose to do so, while also allowing in-person voting spread over a number of days.
All of these arrangements need to be clearly explained to voters well in advance of the election. And just as importantly, states need to get ready to deal with a surge of mailed ballots.