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Vos, Fitzgerald urge Madison clerk to cancel ballot collection event at city parks


Vote election ballot box

MADISON (WKOW) -- Republican leaders in the Wisconsin Legislature wrote a letter to the Madison city clerk urging her to call off a planned absentee vote gathering event scheduled for Saturday.

The letter is written by a lawyer for a firm with offices across the country on behalf of Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

In the letter, the lawyer claims that the 'Democracy in the Park' event violates state law by not offering an approved method of ballot collection.

When 27 News contacted Witzel-Behl for comment, she said she had not yet received the letter.

'Democracy in the Park', according to a city webpage with details on the event, will take place at 206 city parks across Madison on Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

Poll workers will be on hand to accept absentee ballots from city residents. The workers will maintain a chain-of-custody form to document the seal number on each ballot submitted at the event.

"The threat that this procedure poses to ballot integrity is manifestly obvious," the letter said.

The letter makes no threat of legal action on the part of the Republican lawmakers, but does say that a court challenge could theoretically be brought forward.

"Given the apparent unlawfulness of the absentee-ballot-collection efforts of your 'Democracy in the Park' campaign, there is a grave risk that all ballots you collect through this campaign will be challenged in court and ultimately invalidated," the letter said.

In a statement released earlier in the day, not in response to the letter, Witzel-Behl's office said that the event "simply make[s] it easier for residents who have received their requested absentee ballot to drop it off in person."