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Respect every vote, and count every vote. That simple dictum should be a top priority for every election administrator, legislator and election.

Thursday’s State Journal editorial, “Move up absentee voting deadline,” advocates a stricter deadline for absentee ballots than existing law, which requires they be postmarked by Election Day and received by the Friday after the election. The editorial’s rationale is to reduce “uncertainty on election night.”

In close contests, there will always be uncertainty. Election officials emphasize that election night returns are unofficial. Provisional ballots have the same Friday deadline as the absentee ballots. The number of provisional ballots may grow if the photo ID bill is ruled constitutional.

Don’t disenfranchise voters who mail their ballots close to Election Day. They are at the mercy of the postal service. A recent February election fell one day after President’s Day, a postal service holiday. This is magnified for anyone out of the country.

And during the week before an election, some people will face unexpected challenges such as sickness, accidents or family funerals.

For electing our leaders, accuracy and thoroughness are more important than getting instant results.

-- Paul Malischke, Madison, Fair Elections Wisconsin

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Letters editor for Wisconsin State Journal