Wisconsin Republicans Send Election Bills to Governor | New Policies

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By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature on Thursday passed a package of election and ballot bills to Gov. Tony Evers in a bid to appease supporters of former President Donald Trump who mistakenly believe that the 2020 election was stolen from him. .

Republicans argue that the fast-track bills address shortcomings identified by a nonpartisan audit and review by a conservative group. But the proposals go far beyond those recommendations and would change the way votes are cast and elections are conducted in the battleground state.

That’s why Evers, a Democrat who faces re-election in November, has virtually promised to veto them all. Republicans do not have the votes to override his vetoes.

“Any bill that makes it harder to vote, I will veto,” Evers said Thursday. “If these invoices do not fall into this category, I will review them.”

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The Senate passed the bills on Tuesday and the Assembly sent them to Evers on what will likely be its last day in session this year.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos insisted the bills were intended to address issues identified with the 2020 elections and to try to “ensure that people have confidence in the election and the results that are coming.” produce” in the future.

“We are focused on the future,” Vos said. “We’re not looking back to decertify, cancel or do anything with 2020.”

All of the Republican-drafted bills were introduced after President Joe Biden’s narrow victory of nearly 21,000 votes in Wisconsin in 2020. Trump and his supporters falsely claimed the election was stolen, even though the lawsuits, recounts and multiple reviews have found no evidence to support the allegations. widespread fraud.

“Republicans are still obsessed with the 2020 general election and getting it going again,” Democratic Rep. Mark Spreitzer said, ahead of the debate. “Instead of offering solutions…Republicans just want to be punitive and make it harder for people to vote.”

He accused Republicans of “continuing to try to appease a far-right extremist base.”

Vos, who met with Trump, ordered a taxpayer-funded investigation into the current election. Vos had wanted his recommendations in time for the Legislature to consider them before the end of its session next month, but lead investigator and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman has not completed his investigation. . The investigation has been mired in numerous lawsuits challenging the legality of subpoenas Gableman has filed with the mayors of the largest and most Democratic cities in the state.

Vos said bills adopting Gableman’s recommendations may not be considered until the November election. Gableman was scheduled to testify at a legislative hearing on Tuesday where he could release his final report.

The Wisconsin proposals are part of a nationwide Republican effort to reshape the election after Biden’s victory over Trump.

Republicans are trying to sidestep Evers with three constitutional amendments he cannot veto. All amendments are expected to be approved in a statewide vote no earlier than 2023.

An amendment to be approved Thursday would prohibit the use of grants or private donations to help run elections in the state. This responds to a Republican complaint about grants received in Wisconsin in 2020 by the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which is funded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan. The five largest cities in the state received $8.8 million, but more than 200 communities in Wisconsin received funding as part of the $350 million distributed nationwide.

A constitutional amendment passed by the Assembly would stipulate that only American citizens can vote. The state constitution currently doesn’t allow noncitizens to vote, and Republicans say they’re trying to make it clear that can’t happen. Federal law already requires US citizenship to vote in national elections.

Another approved amendment would put the state voter ID requirement into the constitution.

Bills passed Thursday:

— prohibit anyone other than the elector, an immediate family member or a legal guardian from returning a postal ballot.

— prohibit poll clerks from filling in any missing information on a voter’s mail-in ballot envelope.

– require voters to provide a copy of a photo ID each time they request a mail-in ballot. Under current law, voters only need to show ID the first time they request an absentee ballot.

– giving the Legislature control over the guidelines provided to local election clerks by the Wisconsin bipartisan Election Commission.

– limiting who can identify as confined indefinitely, a status that allows postal voting for those who cannot go to the polls due to age, illness or disability.

— require the state to perform checks to ensure that registered voters are US citizens.

This story has been corrected to show that an amendment needs to be approved, but has not yet been voted on.

Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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