Inside Wisconsin’s Election Mess: Thousands of Missing or Nullified Ballots

“I’m talking via Facebook with my family in Madison. Same thing. They never got their ballot either,” said Ms. Ostrowski, who is retired from the financial services industry. Madison, the capital, is more than an hour west of Waukesha.

Tamera Goodwin and her husband, who live in Madison, also said they hadn’t received ballots. “I was looking all over the place, I was looking on the news, Facebook, my state assemblyman’s page, talking to neighbors at a distance, but everyone was confused,” Ms. Goodwin said. “None of us has gotten our ballots and none of us had clarity of where to go.”

Lacking other options, Ms. Goodwin and her husband went to vote in person on Tuesday.

In Racine, about 40 minutes south of Milwaukee, Dawn and Jeff Loken, also retired, complained that they did not receive their ballots. The two Democrats finally trudged to the polls Tuesday night, not to be deterred by what Mr. Loken, who describes himself as a “die-hard Democrat” viewed as an intentional effort by Republicans to suppress his vote. (State Republican lawmakers rebuffed the Democratic governor’s request to postpone the election.)

Some absentee voters who received their ballots and mailed them back in time are running into a separate issue: postmarking.

After much legal wrangling over this year’s absentee ballot deadlines, the Supreme Court’s decision held that ballots must be postmarked by Election Day to count. But in at least one city, Madison, a number of ballots received by the clerk were never even postmarked to begin with.

“We are still receiving mail now from the post office, and about half of it is postmarked,” said Maribeth Witzel-Behl, the city clerk. “It’s probably by now a couple thousand that we’ve received from the post office with no postmark.”

She said her office is dating the ballots with its own stamp as soon as they arrive, and is working with the city attorney to determine what to do with them.

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