After the dozens of absentee ballots were discovered, Wisconsin lawmakers called for an investigation. They suspect there may be similar cases in other centers.
In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, dozens of voters across the United States requested absentee ballots so they could place their votes for the primary elections while in self-isolation. Evidently, the United States Postal Service was not prepared for just how many people would place this request. In a Wisconsin mail processing center, a postal worker discovered three tubs full of absentee ballots that had not been counted. It is unclear at this point if the ballots were on the way to voters or on the way back to clerks, MSN.com reports. After US Senators wrote Wisconsin's Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb, an investigation is now underway.
The news came to light when Republican Senator Dan Feyen of Fond du Lac took to Twitter to make a statement regarding the situation. He wrote, "I learned today that the (state Elections Commission) received a call from a postal service worker informing them three large tubs of absentee ballots from Oshkosh and Appleton, were just located." According to Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the Elections Commission, she is currently looking into the situation. She is unsure if the ballots had already been mailed out to voters. She stated during a media briefing held online, "We don’t have answers on that at this point."
As per Senator Feyen's office, the Congress official wants to go to court in order to give the voters a second chance to ensure that their votes are counted. This may be difficult as the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision on Monday that all election ballots "must be in the hands of clerks by election day or postmarked by then to be counted." While the Senator affirmed that this decision is "correct," he also believed that the situation in his area was unique and should therefore be given accommodations that other constituencies will not receive. He declared in his tweet, "I understand your frustration and am working hard to try to remedy the situation."
Wisconsin Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson thus wrote a letter to Inspector General Whitcomb requesting she conduct an investigation into the matter. "We are writing to urge you to investigate numerous reports of absentee ballots not being delivered in a timely manner for the Wisconsin primary election held on Tuesday, April 7," they stated. "The United States Postal Service (USPS) in short, had an outsized role in ensuring Wisconsinites could safely exercise the right to vote and participate in our democracy." The lawmakers are concerned that this may not be the only case where absentee voters' votes were not counted.
They continued, "We are concerned there may be more examples, and request that you promptly open an investigation to determine the cause of these failures, which appear to have disenfranchised many Wisconsin voters." The senators finally asked the Inspector Whitcomb to "quickly identify what has gone wrong and propose solutions that USPS can swiftly implement." As the 2020 Presidential elections loom closer, it has become increasingly clear that our country needs an alternative to voting in person amidst the public health crisis. The USPS must step up to tighten its delivery protocols and ensure that everyone's vote is counted. This year, it may be up to the Postal Service to ensure a free and fair democracy.