MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Republicans appear to have settled on an explanation for why they lost every statewide race on the ballot in the November 6 elections: Too many voters voted. As part of his alarming post-election assault on checks and balances in state government, Assembly Republican leader Rep. Robin Vos is seeking to address what the GOP sees as their problem, proposing a law change to limit voter participation in a critical 2020 election for Wisconsin State Supreme Court.
“Robin Vos continues to show us his utter contempt for our democracy,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “He’s hell-bent on undermining checks and balances in government. The disrespect he’s showing voters’ right to be heard and to have their decision respected is despicable.”
According to media reports, Vos would like to move the date of Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential primary preference from April, when it would occur along with elections for local offices and a seat on the state Supreme Court, to March, when no other regularly scheduled elections are occurring and just after voters cast their ballots in the February spring primary.
The move is designed to limit voter participation and assist Republican Supreme Court appointee Dan Kelly, who would be up for election in 2020. Before his 2016 appointment, Kelly had no experience as a judge, instead serving as counsel for a right-wing foundation which spends approximately $30 million annually and was created by a major Republican campaign donor. Kelly’s defeat could result in the end of more than a decade of conservative control of the state high court.
Ross noted Vos’ latest gambit is not the first time Wisconsin Republicans have sought to rig the rules on voting or the courts to give themselves an unfair advantage.
A federal lawsuit, One Wisconsin Institute, et. al. v. Thomsen, resulted in a number of voter suppression laws adopted by Republicans being struck down, including restrictions on early voting. Judge James Peterson noted in his decision that the GOP’s early voting restriction, “ … intentionally discriminates on the basis of race…”
According to the latest data from the Wisconsin Elections Commission, a total of 565,591 votes were cast early in-person or by absentee ballot. As reported by the Associated Press, a midterm election record 2.7 million Wisconsinites voted, meaning roughly 20 percent of the vote was cast early.
Meanwhile, during their complete control of state government, Republicans rammed through a measure to change the rules of the court to remove the chief justice whom they opposed.
He concluded, “Robin Vos and his fellow Republicans didn’t get a majority of the votes in this last election and they didn’t get a mandate to dismantle our democracy.”