Last Trump election lawsuit comes to an end, WI voting advocacy groups turn focus towards GOP election bills

NOW: Last Trump election lawsuit comes to an end, WI voting advocacy groups turn focus towards GOP election bills

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The U.S. Supreme Court turned away President Trump and his allies' last outstanding attempt seeking to overturn election results in Wisconsin and other battleground states Monday, marking an end to several unsuccessful legal challenges. 

The high court denied former President Donald Trump's last attempt in Wisconsin to reverse the outcome of the election after Joe Biden narrowly defeated him by fewer than 21,000 votes. 

Trump and his allies argued for months, without evidence, widespread voter fraud occurring during the 2020 presidential election. 

Republican lawmakers are now making it their priority to make changes to state election laws. About a dozen proposals have been introduced so far with a majority aiming to restrict absentee voting, a popular option for millions of Americans to vote by mail during the pandemic. 

Senator Duey Strobel (R-Saukville) is the lead sponsor of several of the bills he says are necessary to implement to restore confidence in the electoral process. 

“Faith in elections is the foundation of our legitimacy as a government and is a prerequisite for the peaceful transfer of power,” Stroebel wrote in a co-sponsor memo to lawmakers. “Unfortunately, some of our election laws in Wisconsin are vague and a small fraction of election officials have exploited that vagueness to violate the clear intent of the law.”

Proposal include requiring voters to submit a photo ID every time they vote absentee, requiring proof from a medical professional if a voter claims they’re indefinitely confined, additional paperwork for those who wish to vote early in-person, banning clerks from filling in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes, limiting absentee drop boxes and preventing ballots from automatically being sent to absentee voters and those serving overseas. 

The League of Women Voters in Wisconsin anticipates filing lawsuits if these proposals make it through the Legislature, arguing they restrict voter access and make it more difficult to cast a ballot. 

“Clearly there are some valid legal challenges that could be made to many of these bills,” said Debra Cronmiller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “To put up barriers for eligible voters to cast their ballots, that’s something we strongly object to.”

Most of the bills are likely to face a veto from Governor Tony Evers. 

GOP lawmakers are open to some type of election reform bills, but Assembly Speaker Vos was hesitant to support all of the proposals out there. “Some of them have good ideas, some of them have problems,” he said last month. 

A majority of Republicans want to strengthen the state’s indefinitely confined voter status after more than 243,000 claimed they were during the November election, which doesn’t require them to show proof of a photo ID. 

More than 80% of those who said they were indefinitely confined had a photo ID on file, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. 

“Living their normal lives, acting like they are not indefinitely confined and using that as a way to circumvent the photo ID law is something all of us should be upset about,” said Vos. 

Voting Bills in Congress

On the federal level, Democrats in Congress are hoping to move forward their bill to overhaul U.S. elections after approving legislation in the House.

The voting rights bill, H.R. 1, would require election officials to establish an automatic voter registration system, expand in-person voting hours ahead of Election Day, create nonpartisan redistricting commissions and make changes to campaign finance laws. 

The bill, however, is widely unpopular with Republicans who plan to fight it. 

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