State election officials resolved a federal lawsuit brought by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign committee by extending the deadline for some military and overseas voters to return their ballots.
According to a Government Accountability Board statement issued Wednesday, federal law requires military and overseas voters to have at least 45 days to receive and return their ballots. On Oct. 18, GAB Director and General Counsel Kevin Kennedy issued an order extending the time period for four municipalities in Wisconsin that sent out ballots late.
Kennedy said in the statement that of the 4,400 overseas ballot requests on file before deadline, municipal clerks sent four ballots without giving military and overseas voters the required 45 days. Kennedy said in the statement voters have already returned two of those four.
“We will continue to work diligently with the clerks and voters to ensure those remaining ballots get returned on time and are counted,” Kennedy said in the statement.
In an email to The Badger Herald, Reid Magney, GAB spokesperson, said the Romney campaign filed the lawsuit Oct. 12.
Following Kennedy’s Oct. 18 order, the parties filed a stipulated order dismissing the lawsuit. Magney said a stipulated order is a court order both parties agree to. Magney said the order was effective Wednesday as soon as the judge entered it.
According to the statement, the order extended the deadline for three municipal clerks who sent ballots late to Nov. 12 from Nov. 9. The deadline for the fourth clerk was moved to Nov. 15.
Ben Sparks, Wisconsin communications director for the Romney campaign, declined to comment in an email to The Badger Herald.
Jay Heck, Common Cause in Wisconsin executive director, said while it is important to count all ballots, he felt Romney’s decision to file the lawsuit was dramatic. He said the lawsuit is a way for Romney’s campaign to show they care about voters.
However, Heck said while Romney’s actions show he cares about some voters, it does not show he cares about all of them since Republicans have worked to pass voter photo ID laws.
“This is a case of selective outrage,” Heck said. “It would be nice to see the Romney campaign concerned about ensuring all voters get ballots without being required to visit Department of Motor Vehicles to get a photo voter ID.”