Election Integrity

We must work to reform the election process so that all voters receive the honest and transparent elections to which they are entitled. In fact, just this past year, we have taken two cases to the United States Supreme Court, and two more to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in our relentless efforts to promote election integrity. Throughout that effort, we worked closely with President Trump’s campaign.

Moving forward, the Republican Party of Wisconsin launched an Election Reform Taskforce. This taskforce has county party leaders and grassroots activists from across the state as we fight for ballot integrity, find solutions to the problems and concerns that exist, and propose solutions to the Wisconsin State legislature. This taskforce has already met several times and is working with our Republican Legislators to provide recommendations to improve election reform bills. The Election Reform Taskforce has also launched two sub-committees: One dealing with WEC Reform and one dealing with the recruitment of Election Inspectors & Election Workers. If you are interested in helping to monitor Wisconsin elections, click here.

While Governor Evers is likely to veto any election reform bill that would uphold the integrity of the law and make our election more secure, his lack of leadership will not deter Republicans from fighting for this issue and we will explore all possible solutions to fix our electoral process.

Below you will find a list of election integrity bills that are currently being reviewed by the Wisconsin State Legislature. This site is designed to be informative and invite your commentary on the proposed legislation. Please take a look and share your thoughts with your local State Representative or Senator. You can find their contact information here.

Summary of Current Election Reform Bills

Authorize an investigation into Wisconsin’s election administration (AR-15) – Sanfelippo

{Approved}

Allows the Assembly to issue subpoenas and gather documents to help understand what work needs to be done to help secure the integrity of Wisconsin’s elections.

Publication of WEC meeting minutes (Wisconsin Act 38) – Stroebel / Neylon
{Enacted into Law on 5/22/21}

  • Require the Wisconsin Elections Commission to post on its website the meeting minutes of any meeting of the commissioners no later than 24 hours after the meeting concludes.
  • Mirroring similar statutes, recommended enforcement actions where a person has not be charged with a crime and personnel matters are exempt from being published online.

Absentee voting uniformity (SB 204) – Stroebel / Gundrum
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • Require all absentee ballot requests to include a copy of the voter’s photo ID (end current voter ID loopholes).
  • Require the Elections Commission to prescribe a uniform absentee ballot request form. Require voters to complete the form prior to receiving an absentee ballot.
  • End the automatic mailing of absentee ballots and absentee ballot applications mailed by the state, counties or municipalities. Exception: Indefinitely confined voters will receive absentee ballot applications.
  • Bar clerks from using ballots for absentee ballots cast in person during early voting that double as the written application required to receive a ballot under state law. It also would make it a felony for clerks to provide an absentee ballot without the required written application. (amendment)

Equal distribution of private funds for election operations (SB 207 / AB 173) – Stroebel / Neylon
{Vetoed by Governor Evers}

  • Prohibits local clerks and boards of elections (Milwaukee) from applying for or receiving private funds for the purpose of administering Wisconsin elections.
  • Requires that funds donated for election administration be consolidated by the Wisconsin Elections Commission and distributed equally on a per-capita basis (subject to JFC review) to all municipalities in the state.
  • Prohibit paid political campaign employees from serving as poll workers.

Security of absentee ballot delivery to municipal clerks (SB 203) – Stroebel / August
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • End “ballot harvesting” by stipulating that only a voter, their immediate family member or legal guardian may return a voted absentee ballot to a municipal clerk or polling place. For voters with no family in Wisconsin they may designate in writing another voter who is not a candidate to return their ballot without compensation to the municipal clerk.
  • Expand current provisions for requesting an absentee ballot and returning a ballot by mail to include by any commercial parcel service (this allows a voter to use USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.).
  • Require any event at which voted absentee ballots are returned to the municipal clerk or his or her staff to comply with the same requirements for an early in-person voting location (i.e. “Democracy in the Park” type events).

Indefinitely confined voter reform (SB 206 / AB 180) – Stroebel / Duchow
{Senate referred to Committee on Senate Organization; Assembly referred to Committee on Campaigns and Elections}

  • Require statements of indefinite confinement to be made under oath or affirmation, with a medical professional concurring if the individual is under the age of 65. A false statement is a Class I felony.
  • Clarify that the existence of a pandemic does not make everyone indefinitely confined.
  • Require electors to re-enroll on the indefinitely confined list every 2 years.
  • Directs municipal clerks to remove a person from the list once they receive reliable information that the person is no longer indefinitely confined.
  • Require the Elections Commission to remove any person from the indefinitely confined rolls who applied for such statutes between March 12, 2020 and November 3, 2020. Those electors may, of course, apply again for indefinitely confined status under the provisions of the bill.

Long-term care facility voting integrity (SB 205) – Stroebel / Duchow
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • Requires long term care facilities to which Special Voting Deputies are sent to notify the next-of-kin of every resident for whom they have next-of-kin information of the dates and times at which SVDs will visit the facility.
  • Clarify that any employee of a long-term care facility who influences a resident to apply for or not apply for an absentee ballot, cast or refrain from casting a ballot, or influences a resident’s decision for whom to cast a ballot is guilty of a Class I felony. Note: This does not prohibit these employees from confirming the voter’s residence and identity under the current SVD statute.

Venue for enforcing election law (SB 213 / AB 194) – Stroebel / Brooks
{Passed the Senate; Public Hearing Held in Assembly}

  • Allows district attorneys in counties that are part of a specific district to prosecute election law violations that occur in the district whether or not the violation occurred inside or outside of their county. This means that if a specific county doesn’t have the resources to pursue election law violations a DA in a county that is also part of the district in question (Assembly, Senate, Congressional district or even statewide for statewide offices) can assume that responsibility.
  • Allow any person who is not a DA or the Attorney General to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission or, without waiting for WEC to render a decision, file a complaint in circuit court seeking enforcement of state election laws. Current law requires complaints to go to WEC and, once disposed of, a person may pursue a judicial remedy. This allows a person to pick which process (or both) they would like to use. Decisions made by a court will not be overturned by WEC.

Drop Boxes (SB 209 / AB 177) – Darling / Steffen
{Passed the Senate; Introduced in Assembly}

  • Currently, Wisconsin has no law allowing for the use of drop boxes to collect ballots.
  • Despite that, some communities allowed drop boxes at grocery stores and in city parks without much, if any, security.
  • This bill allows communities to designate one secure drop box at the location building where the municipal clerk’s office is permanently located. Communities with a population of 70,000 or more may authorize the use of 3 additional drop boxes.
  • The drop box must be tamper-resistant and moisture-resistant.
  • Requires boxes to be uniform and only allow one ballot at a time.
  • The drop box must be emptied once each day at 9:00 am by the clerk or deputy clerk in public view.
  • The clerk must publish notice of the location of the drop box and the days on which it is available for receiving absentee ballots.
  • Must be ADA compliant.

Observer and Election Official Protections (SB 210) – Darling / Tittl
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • Election observers must be allowed uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including the certification of election technologies, early voting, absentee voting, voter appeals, vote tabulation, and recounts.
  • An election observer must wear a badge with the name of the individual and the name of the organization the individual is representing.
  • An election observer may not wear any campaign material advocating voting for or against a candidate or for or against any position on a question on the ballot.
  • An election observer may not interfere with any voter in the preparation or casting of the voter’s ballot or hinder or prevent the performance of the duties of any elected official.
  • An observer who interferes with an election official in their performance of their duties may be expelled. If they violate more than once, they may be subject to a disorderly conduct charge.
  • The bill expands the observation area must not be more than three feet from observers.

Ballot Curing (SB 212) – Darling / Sanfelippo
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • Reinforce Wisconsin law that prevents ballot curing by clerks
  • Incorrect ballots must be returned (not “may”)
  • MyVote updated with status by Sunday before the election.
  • Clerks may not cure any information on ballots
  • Clerks may not intentionally assist or cause a vote or registration to be rejected when the election official knows the vote or registration is valid.
  • Clerks may not intentionally fail to promptly report election fraud committed by another election official.
  • Requires name, street address including apt. # when applicable, and city required.

Standardizing Absentee Ballot Form (SB 211 / AB 178) – Darling / Steffen
{Senate referred to committee on Senate Organization; Public Hearing Held in Assembly}

  • This bill creates a standardized form for requesting an absentee ballot in Wisconsin. It is based on the form created by WEC called the EL-122.
  • The form must contain all of the following information:
    • The voter’s municipality and county of residence
    • The voter’s name, date of birth, and contact information
    • The street address of the voter’s legal voting residence
    • The election at which the voter intends to vote absentee
    • Whether the voter is a military or overseas voter
    • The voter’s confidential identification serial number if that voter has obtained a confidential listing for purposes of voting.
    • The lawful method by which the voter prefers to receive the absentee ballot
    • Whether the voter is a hospitalized voter

Monday Count of Absentee Ballots (SB 214 / AB 310) – Stafsholt / Tauchen
{Available for Scheduling in Senate; Assembly referred to Committee on Campaigns and Elections}

  • Authorizes municipal clerks to being canvassing absentee ballots at 7 am on the Monday before an election. They must stop counting at 10 pm and may resume counting on Election Day. Specific security mechanisms and procedures must be in place and election observers must be allowed to watch the process.
  • At the request of municipal clerks, the bill standardizes the deadline for mailing absentee ballots to overseas voters. By aligning with federal law it is possible to eliminate the “A ballot” and “B ballot” issue during the presidential preference primary.
  • Authorize any city, town or village with a population of less than 35,000 to enter into an agreement to have shared polling places in order to save money.
  • Align the nominating petition deadline for non-party/independent candidates for president and vice president with the current partisan candidate deadline in June (current law has the deadline in August).
  • Prohibit the use of federally-mandated “presidential only” ballots (for electors who moved to Wisconsin too late to qualify as residents) for anyone who otherwise qualifies as a Wisconsin resident.

Presidential Election Day Switch (SB 284) – Stafsholt / Tauchen
{Senate referred to Committee on Elections, Election Process Reform and Ethics}

  • Changes the date of Wisconsin’s presidential preference primary from first Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in March.
  • Note: This means Wisconsin’s primary would not, under RNC rules, for example, be “winner take all” and instead be proportional.

Broadcasting Election Night Proceedings (SB 292) – Wimberger / Sortwell
{Passed the Senate & Assembly, Being sent to Governor’s Desk}

  • If a municipality broadcasts canvassing proceedings live in any election, including by live stream on the Internet, the municipality must record the broadcast, and the municipal clerk must retain the recording for 22 months.

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