In Wisconsin, Republicans move forward with election integrity plans

Lawmakers introduce four pieces of legislation they say will close many of the loopholes used during the 2020 election.

Updated: January 31, 2022 - 11:26pm

The first of what will likely be several new election proposals is moving forward at the Wisconsin Capitol.

Sen. Kathy Bernier, R-Chippewa Falls, along with Rep. Barbara Dittrich, R-Oconomowoc, on Monday introduced four pieces of legislation they say will close many of the loopholes used during the 2020 election in the state.

“After every election, we figure out what didn’t work as planned and we fix it. These bills will fix the problems that have led to unprecedented questions about the last presidential election,” Sen. Bernier said.

LRB-5268 deals with pre-election issues. It focuses on pre-election training for clerks, as well as maintenance for both the state’’s voting machines and Wisconsin’s voting rolls.LRB-5269 deals with Election Day issues. This legislation deals with absentee ballots and electronic voting equipment. Specifically, it clarifies the role of a Special Voting Deputy, bans the use of private resources for election administration, and prohibits "ballot curing."LRB-5270 handles post-election issues. This legislation requires that formal complaints are resolved within 60 in most cases, and requires a post-election report from the Legislative Audit Bureau.LRB-4680 deals directly with the classification of an indefinitely confined voters. The idea is to return this practice to its original purpose by allowing those whose long-term physical condition would not allow them to vote in person at the polls. It also requires a separate form to apply for indefinitely confined status, to avoid mistakenly asking to be classified as indefinitely confined. And it also requires indefinitely confined voters to provide a current photo ID, or the last four numbers of their Social Security number.

Bernier said all of the proposals come from recommendations in the Legislative Audit Bureau’s post-election audit, or the comprehensive audit from the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

“Anyone who opposes these bills falls into two camps, there is no other characterization,” Bernier said “Either they wish to impugn the integrity of our highly respected non-partisan audit bureau, or they wish to undermine faith in democracy by lying to the public about election administration for their own personal gain. I will not stand for either.”

Rep. Dittrich said none of the proposals would change the outcome of the 2020 election, nor are they intended to.

Dittrich said voters simply must be able to trust in the electoral process in the state once again.

“Our election integrity must be paramount, as I have shared with constituents from the beginning,” Dittrich said. “The Legislature must find ways to ensure our integrity and security going forward into the upcoming election cycle. This bill, along with others in the initiative, take a logical step forward, based on sound investigations and legal solutions.”