Sen. Duey Stroebel takes aim at November election complaints with new legislation


The latest proposal from Wisconsin Republicans would fix what they say are the worst of the problems from the November election. But adoption of those reforms is unlikely.

Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, introduced a package of reforms on Monday.

They include:

  • New restrictions on those who claim to be indefinitely confined.
  • A requirement for the Elections Commission to create a single, statewide absentee ballot form for all municipalities.
  • A proposal to allow a voter’s immediate family members, or designated appointee to return a completed absentee ballot.
  • A prohibition on employees of a long-term care facility from influencing a voter’s decision.
  • A prohibition on local election officials from accepting outside donations to pay for election operations.

“Public confidence in our elections is at a crisis point,” Stoebel said in a statement Tuesday.
All of the proposals deal with specific complaints from Republicans about the November 2020 election.

The restriction on indefinitely confined ballots is perhaps the biggest.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission reported that more people cast an indefinitely confined ballot in November than ever before. The WEC said nearly 250,000 people cast an indefinitely confined ballot in November, and that 80% showed voter ID within the past four years.

That means 20%, or nearly 50,000 ballots were submitted without proof of identity.

President Biden won Wisconsin by about 20,000 votes. Republican lawmakers say that’s half the number of indefinitely confined ballots that came in without voter ID.

“The actions of the Wisconsin Elections Commission and some local election officials, through conflicting guidance, ignorance of the law, and a refusal to abide by the plain language of statutes, led to electoral chaos,” Stroebel added. “These bills are about restoring confidence in our elections.”

Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol, however, say the plans are part of a voter suppression effort.

“They can only maintain power by cheating: suppressing the vote and gerrymandering the state,” Sen. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, said on Twitter Tuesday. “They aren’t serious proposals and they won’t become law.”

Gov. Evers has already vowed not to sign any new elections laws, and Republicans in the legislature are one Senate seat short of being able to override the governor on their own.

Still, Stroebel said the point is to make sure voters in Wisconsin trust the electoral process again.

“We must ensure uniformity of process and transparency of conduct so all voters, regardless of political belief, trust the final outcome,” Stroebel said.

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