GOP-led Legislature joins suit to block ballot curing

MADISON, Wis. — The Republican-controlled Legislature is joining a lawsuit to block a Wisconsin Elections Commission guidance that allows clerks to “cure” absentee ballot return envelopes.

The suit stems from a 2016 guidance approved by the commission that allows clerks to enter certain missing information on the return envelope, like the zip code on the witness’s address. The lawsuit seeks to block the guidance and prevent clerks from doing the practice.

“Lawless ballot curing cannot and will not be allowed to continue,” said Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu. “We’re putting the full weight of the Legislature behind this lawsuit to shut down WEC’s defiant and flagrant abuse of the law.”

The WEC had previously submitted a formal rule to the Legislature on ballot curing, but a committee threw out the rule last month. The 2016 guidance, which does not have the force of law, remains in place while the lawsuit is being decided.

The suit was brought by the Republican Party of Waukesha County and was supposed to be heard by Judge Brad Schimel, who recused himself from the case because the state Department of Justice advised the WEC on the matter when he was attorney general.