absentee ballots
© Zhihan Huang / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jeff Lahodik takes care of absentee ballots in Burlington.
Three tubs of ballots for Oshkosh and Appleton have been discovered at a mail processing center in Milwaukee, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission and a state senator.

The discovery emerges as would-be voters across the state express a host of frustrations about absentee ballots they tried to avoid going to the polls amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many have said ballots they requested long ago did not arrive by Tuesday, the deadline for getting their ballots postmarked.

"I learned today that the (state Elections Commission) received a call from a postal service worker informing them 3 large tubs of absentee ballots from Oshkosh and Appleton, were just located," Republican Sen. Dan Feyen of Fond du Lac said on Twitter.

Meagan Wolfe, the administrator of the Elections Commission, said she is looking into the situation. She said she has not determined whether the ballots had been on their way to voters or already filled out and on their way back to clerks.

"We don't have answers on that at this point," Wolfe said during an online media briefing.

Feyen wants the commission to go to court to give the voters a chance to have the ballots counted, according to his office.

Getting such a ruling will be exceedingly difficult because the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Monday ruled absentee ballots must be in the hands of clerks by election day or postmarked by then to be counted.

Republicans sought that decision by the Supreme Court and Feyen this week called it correct. But he also said he believed the situation in his area was unique and those voters should be given accommodations that others aren't getting.

At issue is voters who didn't receive absentee ballots through no fault of their own. Many have registered such complaints, not just those in Appleton and Oshkosh.

Voters who did not receive their absentee ballots had the option of voting in person Tuesday — an act some voters were reluctant to take because of the global pandemic.

No details have been made available about how many voters who didn't get absentee ballots ended up voting in person instead.