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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoes Republican election integrity reforms

Changes would have closed loopholes exploited during 2020 election, according to state lawmakers.

Updated: August 10, 2021 - 8:00pm

The rules for Wisconsin's next election are not changing.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday vetoed a slate of Republican election reforms that lawmakers said would close the loopholes exploited during the 2020 elections.

"They're trying to stack the deck so they get the results they want next time, and they're trying to make it harder for every eligible person to cast their ballot," Evers said in his veto statement.

In all, the governor vetoed seven different Republican-sponsored plans that would have stopped people from returning ballots for other people; redefined who is and who is not indefinitely confined; required almost everyone in the state to show voter ID; stopped local election workers from filling in missing pieces on ballots; and stopped mass-absentee ballot collections like Democracy in the Park in Madison.

Republicans, as expected, were outraged.

"While he claims these bills are 'anti-democracy,' his actions speak louder than words," Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said. "[The governor] is satisfied with the status quo and refusing to improve future elections. These bills closed loopholes, standardized procedures, established uniformity, guaranteed only the voter can correct their own ballot, and protected the votes of seniors in long-term care."

"The governor just turned his back on important election integrity bills that, had he signed, would have gone a long way to prove to the people of Wisconsin that protecting the integrity of our elections matters more than appeasing progressive Madison and Milwaukee special interest groups," Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) said Tuesday.

No one should be surprised that Evers vetoed the legislation, he promised for months to scuttle anything that he said would make it more difficult to vote.

"When I ran for this office, I promised that I'd work to protect the right of every eligible person to vote," the governor said. "That's why we will keep working to protect the right of every eligible voter to cast their ballot and to make sure it is easy and accessible for them to do so."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said the governor is making it easier for more election shenanigans in the state.

"Our commonsense election integrity bills would have made it easy to vote and harder to cheat," LeMahieu said in a statement. "Protecting Voter ID laws and the integrity of our election is fundamental to a healthy republic. Gov. Evers is standing in the way of restoring the trust in our process that has been lost."

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