Romney campaign files federal lawsuit over WI ballots for overseas military

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign has filed a federal lawsuit seeking more time for military and overseas voters in Wisconsin to return ballots that were sent past a federal deadline. The campaign on Sunday, October 14th provided copies of the lawsuit filed in federal court in Madison on Friday, October 12th.

The campaign earlier this month sent a letter to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board asking that the deadline for returning military and overseas ballots be extended. A spokesman for the GAB says 44 ballots were sent up to five days after the Sept. 22nd deadline.

Federal law requires the ballots to be returned by Nov. 9th. The lawsuit seeks at least five additional days for them to be returned.

The Romney campaign says: "Because members of the military are often stationed in remote, dangerous, front line locations, there is a substantial likelihood that the defendants' violations of law will prevent military voters from receiving, completing and returning their ballots in time to have them counted."

Republicans in Madison say they agree with the Romney campaign's decision to file suit.

"It's unacceptable that our military men and women who allow us to sleep peacefully with our little kids at home at night, might be denied the opportunity to choose their next commander in chief," Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch said.

Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board Director Kevin Kennedy says the problem is isolated and they've done their best to fix it.

"We had 26 of our 1,851 local clerks who missed the deadline, but we have a number of redundancies built into the system so we know all the voters got their ballots in a timely manner so that they can mark them and get them back so that they will be counted," Kennedy said.

Electronic transmission helped get the ballots out quickly, so now, the GAB says the responsibility rests with voters to get their ballots sent in on time.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign says they are eyeing similar suits elsewhere. A spokesman said: "Nothing imminent, but we are monitoring other states."

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