MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Tuesday vetoed a number of laws passed by the state’s Republican-controlled law that would reintroduce postal voting in the important battlefield state.
The Democratic governor had been widely expected to reject the bills his party ridiculed as voter suppression. Republicans argued the proposals were necessary to ensure clean elections.
The Wisconsin bills are part of a nationwide drive by Conservatives to reshape elections and votes after President Donald Trump narrowly lost a second term to Democrat Joe Biden. Evers’ veto came as Texas Republicans got closer to creating a quorum to pass voting changes thwarted by Democrats fleeing the state.
Wisconsin Republicans do not have enough votes to overturn Evers’ veto. No Democrats supported the law passed in June.
Biden beat Trump in Wisconsin with just under 21,000 votes. Numerous state and federal lawsuits by Trump and his allies after the defeat have been dismissed.
Still, Wisconsin Republicans have cleared a 2020 election review by the bipartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has cleared a separate investigation conducted by a former state Supreme Court judge. The Republican, who heads the congregation’s electoral committee, is also pursuing her own “cyber-forensic” review of the results, with subpoenas of election officials in two districts asking them to hand over ballots and voting machines.
One of the laws that Evers vetoed would have required most elderly and disabled people who are indefinitely incarcerated and unable to come to the polls on their own to show photo ID to vote absent. These voters would have to apply for a ballot every year instead of being sent out automatically. And all those eligible to vote by post would have had to fill out more paperwork and show their ID with each postal vote, not just the first time.
Another bill would have blocked the long-standing practice of allowing local election officials to fill in missing information on the envelopes that voters use to return postal ballot papers.
Biden’s victory over Trump in Wisconsin was confirmed in partial counts targeting the Democrat-dominated counties of Milwaukee and Dane, where Trump attempted to disqualify thousands of absentee votes. Among those Trump tried to kick out were 5,500 postal ballot papers where election officials filled in missing address information on certification envelopes that contained postal ballot papers.
The bill would have made it a crime for election workers to fill out missing information, which could result in a fine of up to $ 10,000 and three years in prison.
A third bill, against which Evers vetoed, would have banned voting events two weeks before an election at the earliest. It would also have only allowed one collection point for postal ballot papers, which is located near the local office. Republican supporters said the goal was to prevent “ballot collection” by not allowing events or locations where ballot papers could be collected.
The proposal was in response to the Democracy in the Park event held in Madison City Parks last year, where election workers collected postal ballots before the early term began two weeks before the election.
Another bill that Evers vetoed would have made it a crime for an employee of a nursing home or other care facility to force a resident to request or not to request a postal vote. The nursing home would also require relatives to be notified when special election officers are due to be on-site to assist residents with voting.
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