UPDATE: On December 20, 2023, the Wisconsin Elections Commission decided two complaints in favor of our clients, confirming that voters cannot be required to show their photo ID when returning absentee ballots.

August 28, 2023: Law Forward continues to be concerned about overly restrictive policies for returning absentee ballots. Even though there have been four statewide elections since, the Teigen ruling and the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to end secure ballot drop boxes as a safe method of returning absentee ballots and restrict ballot return assistance continues to generate confusion.

One example of this confusion is in the City of West Allis, which continues to enforce a policy of requesting Photo ID for anyone returning an absentee ballot, and marking the ballots of those voters who do not produce an ID. This procedure is not permitted under Wisconsin statute and the Wisconsin Elections Commission has clarified that voters should not have to produce Photo ID again when they return their ballot. Unfortunately, even after this clarification, the City of West Allis has maintained its policy. All absentee voting is subject to strong protections including the requirement that the voter be observed by a witness who swears to their identity and the voting procedure. We filed another WEC complaint to challenge this unlawful procedure.

Law Forward and our partners remain deeply appreciative of the work clerks and other election officials do to run safe and efficient elections. We understand the added difficulties caused by an uncertain legal landscape and threats from anti-democratic actors. We will, however, do whatever we can to dismantle any inappropriate and unlawful barriers to voting. We will always protect free and fair elections in Wisconsin. On behalf of our client, we look forward to a speedy and successful resolution of this complaint, ensuring that other voters are not subject to this new, duplicative, photo ID requirement when returning their ballots.