MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s conservative-leaning state Supreme Court ordered a Democratic clerk Tuesday to stop telling absentee voters how to get around voter ID requirements.
People seeking absentee ballots online are required to upload photo identification as per Republican-authored voter ID laws. Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell has been advising applicants who can’t upload photos to get around the requirement by declaring themselves indefinitely confined. Such voters are exempt from voter ID requirements.
McDonell justified the advice by maintaining that Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order to curb the coronavirus means everyone in the state is technically indefinitely confined.
The state Republican Party filed a lawsuit against McDonell on Friday in the state Supreme Court, bypassing all lower courts. Conservative-leaning justices control the court 5-2.
The court on Tuesday ordered McDonell to remove the advice from his Facebook page and refrain from posting such advice again. The justices said they agree with the Wisconsin Elections Commission’s interpretation that it’s up to each individual voter to decide whether he or she is legitimately indefinitely confined and the status can’t be used as a carte blanche excuse to avoid providing photo identification.
McDonell said in an email to The Associated Press that he thought his advice was consistent with WEC’s intepretation but he has no problem taking down his posts.