Wisconsin approves measure to send absentee ballot applications to voters

(CNN) — The Wisconsin Election Commission has unanimously approved a measure to send absentee ballot applications to about 2.7 million voters ahead of the November general election, an official with the commission tells CNN.

Ballot applications will go to all registered voters in the state, except those who have already requested an absentee ballot or have moved and haven’t confirmed their address. The mailing is expected to go out in mid- to late August. The commission also approved a grant for each municipality of $200 dollars plus $1.10 for each registered voter to cover the costs.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted several states to broaden access to voting by mail, though President Donald Trump has claimed without evidence that the practice is susceptible to fraud and he has alleged widespread abuses in the US.

Officials in several states, including Michigan and Nevada, have recently moved to make it easier for more voters to cast their ballots by mail ahead of the November election. On Wednesday, the Texas Supreme Court blocked an effort to expand vote-by-mail to registered voters in the state, saying that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus does not count as a “disability” for which a voter can apply for a mail-in ballot.

Wisconsin’s election developments are particularly notable as it is considered to be a swing state heading into the presidential election.

In early April, the state proceeded with its in-person primary in the middle of the pandemic, a decision that was criticized by health experts and candidates. A few weeks later, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced at least 52 people who voted in person or worked the polls for the primary election had tested posted for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, in a case now pending at the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the nonprofit Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is trying to strike more than 200,000 names from the state’s voter rolls that it believes are no longer valid.


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