Republicans send Gov. Evers election bills bound for his veto pen
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Assembly Republicans took final action on a handful of election bills that now head to Gov. Tony Evers' desk, who is all but certain to veto them.
Republican lawmakers in the Assembly passed bills that target those who vote by mail and would impose penalties on election officials who fill in missing information on absentee ballot envelopes.
The move comes as Republicans have introduced over a dozen election related bills after former President Donald Trump was narrowly defeated by Joe Biden in Wisconsin, losing in the battleground state by fewer than 21,000 votes.
One bill would require those who identify as indefinitely confined to show proof of their photo ID and fill out additional paperwork to cast an absentee ballot. Another measure requires confined voters to apply to get an absentee ballot each year instead of the current law that sends them automatically.
If election officials fill in missing information on an absentee ballot envelope, they would be held punishable up to a $10,000 fine for committing election fraud under another GOP bill.
Republicans said their proposals are aimed at preventing issues in the future and would increase transparency and accountability in elections.
"The goal at the end of the day is that every single person has the right to vote, but we guarantee the confidence in our elections," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).
Democrats argue the bills would make it harder for people to vote.
"The bills do not make our elections more secure," said Rep. Mark Spreitzer (D-Beloit). "What (these bills) do is make it harder for elderly people and Wisconsinites with disabilities to vote and make voting more difficult for those who make one typo when filling out a form."
Republicans also approved a bill that would make it a felony if someone who works in a long-term care facility influences a resident to apply, or not apply, for an absentee ballot. Another prohibits ballot collection events from only happening two weeks prior to an election and they must be held within close proximity of a local clerk's office.
This follows a challenge by former President Trump who sought to throw out over 5,000 absentee ballots collected at a Democracy in the Park event in Dane and Milwaukee counties.
Gov. Evers, who opposes GOP attempts to change election laws, has indicated he would veto the bills, but that's not stopping Republicans and their efforts to investigate issues raised during the 2020 Presidential election.
Top Republicans have already approved a nonpartisan Legislative Audit to review the 2020 election and recently hired retired police officers to investigate unfound claims of widespread voter fraud.
The passage of the bills follows a recent trip made by four Republican lawmakers who toured Arizona's controversial recount. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said on Tuesday he doesn't think a similar review would occur in Wisconsin since they already are conducting their own audit.