GOP voting changes set for approval by Wisconsin Legislature

The Wisconsin Senate was taking up more than a dozen measures on Tuesday, with final passage in the Assembly expected on Thursday.
FILE (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)
FILE (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger)(Carrie Antlfinger | AP)
Published: Feb. 20, 2022 at 11:21 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature is preparing to pass a package of fast-tracked bills this week that will make it more difficult to vote in the presidential battleground state, election year measures that are all-but certain to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The proposals are part of a nationwide effort by Republicans to reshape elections following President Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump, who has falsely claimed the election was stolen.

The Wisconsin Senate was taking up more than a dozen measures on Tuesday, with final passage in the Assembly expected on Thursday.

One of the proposals up this week, starting Tuesday in the Senate, would give the Legislature control over guidance delivered to local election clerks by the state elections commission. Another would empower the Legislature to eliminate staff or cut funding for the elections commission and the departments of transportation, corrections and health services if lawmakers determine any of they failed to comply with election law. And a third would limit who could claim to be indefinitely confined, which allows them to vote absentee without showing a photo ID.

Another bill would prohibit anyone other than the voter, an immediate family member or a legal guardian to return an absentee ballot. It also would not allow for absentee ballots to be automatically mailed to voters who have a standing request for that, except for those who are indefinitely confined and military and overseas voters. And it would require all voters to enclose a copy of their photo ID when they apply for an absentee ballot.

Another measure would bar special voting deputies from helping residents in long-term care facilities only when there is a public health emergency or a disease outbreak that causes the facility to be closed to the public.

At least two of the measures would sidestep Evers and instead eventually go to voters to consider. Constitutional amendments up for votes this week would bar donations from outside groups to help run elections and say that only U.S. citizens can vote. Those could be put up for voter approval in 2023, a year before the presidential election.

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