Wisconsin Republicans To Send Bills To Governor | Wisconsin News
By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Wisconsin Assembly planned to send Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday bills that would limit postal voting opportunities, make it more difficult for seniors and people with disabilities to vote by mail, and ban officials to fill in missing information on returned mail ballot envelopes.
Evers is expected to veto any measures backed by Republicans, who cleared the GOP-controlled Senate based on party line votes earlier this year.
Conservatives are pushing more than a dozen election bills in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s weak loss on the Wisconsin battlefield to President Joe Biden. Republican supporters say the bills would fill loopholes in Wisconsin’s election law that were exposed in the November 2020 election. Opponents say they are an attempt to perpetuate the lie that Trump actually won and are intended to deny voting groups the right to vote that tend to support Democrats.
Republicans in Wisconsin have already approved a review of the 2020 election by the non-partisan Legislative Audit Office and have hired retired police officers to investigate unsubstantiated reports of widespread voter fraud. Trump’s defeat has been confirmed following recounts in Milwaukee and Dane counties and in numerous state and federal lawsuits.
One of the bills submitted to the Assembly for approval would require most elderly and disabled people who are indefinitely confined to present photo identification in order to vote by post; require all absent voters to fill out more paperwork and show their ID each time they vote away, rather than just the first time as is the current law; and requiring confined voters to request a postal ballot each year, rather than having it sent out automatically as is currently the case.
Another bill would prohibit local election officials from filling in missing voter information on the postal voting certificate, which also serves as the envelope voters use to return ballots.
Trump has sought to disqualify approximately 5,500 mail-in ballots in the Democratic-dense counties of Dane and Milwaukee, where election clerks filled in missing address information on certification envelopes.
Clerks had filled in the missing information on certification envelopes for a dozen elections by November, based in part on guidance from the Wisconsin Election Commission. After Trump’s defeat, Republicans questioned the legality of this practice, as state law does not specifically allow it.
Under the bill, any missing information on the mail ballot would be returned to the voter for correction. Officials filling in the missing information would commit electoral fraud, punishable by a fine of up to $ 10,000 and up to three years in prison.
A third bill would ban ballot collection events earlier than two weeks before an election. They should also be located near the local clerk’s office and staffed from these offices.
The change follows the Democracy in the Park event held in Madison City Parks last year, where volunteers collected mail-in ballots before the early voting period began. two weeks before the elections.
Trump has argued in a lawsuit that no ballot should be counted during Democracy in the Park events, or when election officials added missing information. On both of these allegations, the Wisconsin Supreme Court said Trump raised the issues too late and his allegations lacked supporting evidence.
Three dissenting Tory judges said the laws needed clarification, which led to the bills drafted by Republicans.
Another bill to be voted on by the Assembly would make it a crime for an employee of a nursing home or other care facility to coerce an occupant to request or not to request a ballot. by mail. It would also force the nursing home to notify relatives when special deputies planned to be on site to help residents vote.
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