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Wisconsin voters who change their minds about their votes — or whose chosen candidates drop out before an election — can no longer void their absentee ballots and vote again, a process known as “spoiling.” 

A Wisconsin appeals court decided Oct. 27 not to hear an appeal of a lower court’s ruling, which required the Wisconsin Elections Commission to rescind its guidance on spoiling that was used in 2016 and 2020 elections.

The WEC and other groups, including the Democratic National Committee, had appealed the ruling. But the judges in both courts sided with a conservative group formed by Republicans, including former U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

Very few Wisconsin voters — between .01% and 1%—spoiled their absentee ballots in recent elections, according to The Associated Press. 


Wisconsin Watch: Wisconsin ballot spoiling is a no-go after court upholds ban

Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin Elections Commission retracts ‘ballot spoiling’ guidance after appeals court loss

AP News: Wisconsin judge blocks absentee ballot spoiling

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Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.