MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) – Voters who didn't get an absentee ballot in the mail this week in time for the election weren't left with much of a choice besides going to vote at the polls in-person.
That's raising questions for some people like whether or not it's possible to send an absentee ballot back and still vote in-person.
The Wisconsin Elections Commission has procedures to prevent double-voting so it is not a typical problem.
The reason there is a deadline for requesting an absentee ballot before an election isn't just so clerks have time to mail them out. It's also to make sure poll books are up-to-date.
“If you requested an absentee ballot, the polling place would have a record of that,” Reid Magney with the Wisconsin Elections Commission said. “When you go to the polling place, you're asked have you returned an absentee ballot and if you have then you're not allowed to vote at the polling place.”
Voters could lie, and at that moment, the poll worker might not know if an absentee ballot was returned or not, but they will be able to find out.
“If you do that, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted,” Magney said.
The process to make sure people don't vote twice is fairly simple.
“You go to the polling place, you show them your ID, they have you sign the poll book,” Magney said. “If later on they are processing absentee ballots, and there's one for you there, that's when they would look at the poll book and they would see 'oh wait, this person has already voted in-person' and so we know not to process that absentee ballot because we've already got a signature here on the poll book from that person.”
If a polling place already processed absentee ballots before a voter comes in the poll book would also reflect that a ballot had already been cast.