Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney filed a federal lawsuit in order to gain more time for military and overseas voters to return their ballots in Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit was filed in Madison’s federal court on Friday, which comes after the Romney campaign had already sent a letter to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board requesting a deadline extension for the overseas ballots.
The ballots are required by federal law to be returned by Nov. 9, but Romney’s lawsuit requests an additional five days for the overseas ballots to be received, according to the Associated Press.
Reid Magney, spokesperson for the GAB, said in a statement the board has been thorough in working with municipal clerks, who are responsible for sending out absentee ballots, as well as with the U.S. Department of Justice on problems with military and overseas ballots.
“We will respond to the substance of the lawsuit in court filings. Only four ballots were sent out too late to have the required 45 days of transit time to reach the voter and be returned for counting,” Magney said in the statement.
Mike McCabe, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, said it is important to note that the primary election in Wisconsin was moved from September to August. This is something that most states have not done and will allow for more votes to be counted, McCabe said.
“Wisconsin used to have its primary election in September, which meant that candidates were not determined until halfway through September. Moving the primary election to August provided an additional three weeks for overseas voters to receive and then send back their ballots,” McCabe said.
McCabe said he does not know what more the state could do aside from what it has already done.
In addition to changing the date of the primary, McCabe said modern technology now allows for the ballots to be sent via email and received faster.
“A lot of major strides have been made in terms of improving the voting process for overseas citizens. I don’t think this lawsuit is serious. Wisconsin has bent over backwards to accommodate voters overseas,” McCabe said.
McCabe added that he feels Wisconsin should be the least vulnerable to these kinds of lawsuits as most states do not even choose candidates until mid-semester.
McCabe added he thought the lawsuit was “politically motivated.”
Nathan Conrad, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, said Romney’s request for more time for overseas voters is important to voter integrity. He said those who are overseas have the same rights as those in the U.S. to be involved in the electoral process.
“We should do all that we can to make sure that their votes are not disenfranchised,” Conrad said in an email to The Badger Herald.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.