Judge sides with RNC in Wisconsin voting lawsuit

Elections 2022

(NewsNation) — A judge ordered election officials in Green Bay, Wisconsin to make changes to their early voting procedures in response to a lawsuit from the Republican National Committee.

The complaint centered around the role of poll watchers. The RNC stated poll watchers were allowed to see voters check in and receive ballots but could not see the voters turn ballots in or view the ballot certification process.

A Brown County judge ruled election officials needed to modify the process to allow observation by Wednesday.

Poll watchers, referred to as election observers in Wisconsin, are legally entitled to view all the public parts of the voting process from an area designated by an election official. There are no residency requirements to be a poll watcher in the state.

It’s one of several lawsuits regarding voting in the state, which began early voting on Oct. 25.

Previously, a Wisconsin Supreme Court judge ruled ballot drop boxes would only be allowed at election clerk’s offices and absentee ballots could only be returned by the voter, with an exception for those with disabilities who require assistance.

A judge also ruled that election officials can’t fill in missing witness information on ballots that have partially completed it, reversing previous guidance. Absentee ballots in Wisconsin are required to include the address and signature of a witness to be counted.

Wisconsin’s Senate race is one that could determine the balance of power in Congress.

Recent polling from Emerson College shows incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, with just a 4-point lead over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes.

The polls show Johnson with a 50 percent approval rating with Barnes at 46, six percent of voters undecided and three percent voting for other candidates.

When undecided candidates were asked to choose between Johnson and Barnes, Johnson’s approval rating jumped to 51 percent.

Barnes does lead when it comes to support from female voters, with a five-point lead over Johnson.

Johnson is backed by former President Donald Trump and has been serving in the Senate since 2010.

Barnes is Wisconsin’s Lieutenant Governor and the second African American to hold statewide office in the state.

Voters in Wisconsin also cited the economy as their number one concern, followed by abortion access, democracy, crime and healthcare.

In 2020, President Joe Biden won Wisconsin with just a one percent lead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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