WEC rescinds ‘ballot curing’ guidance

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Elections Commission voted 4-1 to remove a guidance it issued in 2016 that allowed clerks to add missing information on absentee ballot return envelopes — a process called ballot curing.

The vote came after a Waukesha judge ruled that the 2016 guidance went against state law, and the same judge Tuesday decided against staying his initial decision.

Under the 2016 guidance, clerks could use the street address included on the back of an envelope to fill in missing zip code data, for example. The commission will debate later what it considers a complete address under state law, which could allow clerks to accept ballots with some missing information. The judge has declined so far to rule in the case on what constitutes a complete address.

Democratic appointee Ann Jacobs was the sole commissioner to vote against the measure, arguing that the commission was taking steps it was not explicitly ordered by the Waukesha judge to take.

The commission is usually split 3-3 along party lines, but Democratic appointee Mark Thomsen missed Tuesday’s meeting. Democratic appointee Julie Glancy joined Republicans in Tuesday’s vote.