It’s our priority to restore confidence in our elections by closing election law loopholes, protecting Voter ID, and ensuring no bureaucrat or outside organization can manipulate Wisconsin’s election process. We’re moving a strong package of election integrity bills designed to make it
This bill is in response to the high-profile “Zuckerbucks” scandal in which Mark Zuckerberg’s group “Center for Tech and Civic Life” spent millions to influence the election in the city of Green Bay where a Democrat operative was given questionable access and responsibilities during the last election.
Ballot harvesting – the practice of allowing political operatives or outside groups to selectively collect absentee ballots and return them to polling places in bulk – is currently illegal, however, Madison found a way to skirt the law by holding “Democracy in the Park” events to collect ballots en masse and deliver. We’re tightening up the law to expressly prohibit these activities and protect ballot integrity.
The bill tightens our laws on indefinitely confined status and ensures that COVID or other events aren’t used as blanket exemption. It also requires local clerks and the Wisconsin Elections Commission to clean up lists so that Voter ID laws are not obstructed.
Currently, we have a law that allows people who are confined because of age, physical illness, infirmity, or disability to vote via absentee ballot without showing ID. In 2020, people were guided to use the indefinitely confined status during the pandemic, yet they were healthy and able to travel to the polls or could have registered to vote absentee. This resulted in a 238% increase in indefinitely confined voters. This bill restores the original intent of the indefinitely confined status — restricting it to those who truly are confined to their residence. It will also require proof of identity.
The bill authorizes District Attorneys to investigate election law violations in an adjacent county. This addresses the problems of partisan DAs refusing to investigate issues in their jurisdiction and will give rural voters protection against big-city tactics
When known violations of election laws take place and the local District Attorney does not investigate, voters in the surrounding community are often left without recourse. This bill allows willing district attorneys in neighboring counties to investigate and prosecute those who knowingly violate election laws.
Last election, there were reports of clerks unlawfully fixing absentee ballot that did not have the proper information. This bill reinforces state law that says voters, not clerks, should fix errors on an absentee ballot. If something is amiss on the ballot, the clerk can return the ballot to the voter and post a notification on the online voter system, MyVote Wisconsin.
The bill requires family members be notified when their loved ones will receive ballots, prevents employees from filling out ballot requests, and establishes audits of ballots cast in long-term care facilities.
We’ve heard stories from constituents about loved ones without the capacity to vote who have shown up in the voting record as having cast an absentee ballot in the 2018 and 2020 elections—with family members having no knowledge of their loved ones’ votes. This is alarming. This bill protects voters residing in nursing home or long-term care facilities by prohibiting any employee of such a facility from influencing a voter’s decision to cast or not cast a ballot, or influencing a voter to cast a ballot for a particular candidate. It also requires notification to next-of-kin with date and time if a Special Voting Deputy will be onsite to conduct in-person absentee voting.
The bills requires election observers must be allowed uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including the certification of election technologies, early voting, absentee voting, voter appeals, vote tabulation, and recounts. It also requires election observers access to within three feet.
We must have consistent standards and responsibilities for those who volunteer as election observers. Election observers have an important ability to make sure each polling place is following the law as an election takes place. This bill makes sure an observer does not interfere with legal vote casting while also granting observers equal access to all stages of an election.
This past election revealed some concerning loopholes in Wisconsin’s voting laws. This bill covers a lot of ground to maintain honesty and integrity in our elections, from creating uniformity in absentee voting to clarifying the online voter registration and absentee ballot request process. It also closes voter ID loopholes, requiring an ID to be shown for every vote, whether absentee ballot or in-person.
Right now, there is no standardized form to request an absentee ballot in Wisconsin. This has caused confusion and inconsistencies in the absentee ballot process. This bill creates a standardized form for requesting an absentee ballot in Wisconsin and requires proof of identification to the clerk.
The public deserves maximum transparency surrounding the actions of state elections officials. In the interests of transparency, this bill requires the timely publication of Elections Commission meeting minutes as well as specific details on decisions and votes of Commissioners.