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Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff (holding sign) had been standing in line at Washington High School for almost two hours on Election Day, April 7, 2020. Patricia McKnight / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff (holding sign) had been standing in line at Washington High School for almost two hours on Election Day, April 7, 2020. Patricia McKnight / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee resident Jennifer Taff (holding sign) had been standing in line at Washington High School for almost two hours on Election Day, April 7, 2020. Patricia McKnight / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Eric Litke
By Eric Litke April 7, 2020

Since-deleted tweet claimed email ballots remain an option. Not true

If Your Time is short

  • Voters could request and receive a ballot  by email, but only if they made the request before April 3, 2020.

  • The only option after that point is to get a ballot at the polling place in person on Election Day.

Amid the pandemonium of an off-again, on-again Wisconsin election in the middle of a pandemic, claims have been circulating online that voters can have a ballot emailed to them instead of waiting in line.

Posts across Facebook and Twitter echoed this claim. 

Perhaps most notably, so did a tweet from Ben Wikler, chairman of the state Democratic Party. Here’s what he sent out Monday, April 6, 2020:

"If you have requested an absentee ballot and it hasn’t arrived yet — like thousands of other Wisconsinites — then you call your clerk and as for a ballot to be emailed to you. You then find a safe way to print it out, fill it in and drop it off. Clerk then copies it to official paper."

That’s not true. And Wikler has since deleted the tweet.

Here are the details:

Deadline for email ballots has passed

Wisconsin Elections Commission spokesman Reid Magney said the deadline for emailed ballots was Friday, April 3, 2020 — four days before the election.

Until that cut-off date, voters could request a mail or email ballot by email, fax or through the commission’s website.

The only way for residents to get a ballot after that — even those who requested an absentee ballot but didn’t receive it — is by going to their local polling place in person on Election Day, April 7, 2020.

Featured Fact-check

Wikler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Magney said the commission was aware of the tweet.

"He was wrong," Magney said.

And later in the day, so was state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who made a nearly identical claim to a reporter while working as an election inspector.

His staff later admitted the error. Spokeswoman Kit Beyer confirmed Vos was mistaken, saying the elections commission "had guidance recently on that fact, which staff hadn’t briefed him on."

Our ruling

Wikler, like many others on social media, claimed voters could get a ballot sent to them by email right up to Election Day.

State officials say that is not the case — the deadline passed the week before. And Wikler has since deleted his tweet.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Ben Wikler, tweet (since deleted), April 6, 2020

Wisconsin Elections Commission, Absentee Voting, accessed April 7, 2020

Email exchange with Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, April 7, 2020

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Since-deleted tweet claimed email ballots remain an option. Not true

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