MADISON, Wis. — Determined not to be outdone by recent anti-voter legislation in North Carolina, Wisconsin State Senator Mary Lazich has fired back, re-introducing a package of bills to make it easier to toss out the legally cast ballots of legal voters for minor clerical errors and injecting more partisanship into election administration. One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross termed the depth and breadth of Lazich’s contempt for the most fundamental of democratic rights, the franchise, “disgusting and depraved.”
Ross said, “Every legal voter in Wisconsin ought to be able to cast their vote and to have their vote counted and voice heard. The continuing efforts of Sen. Lazich, Gov. Walker and other state Republicans to manipulate the rules on voting to their personal political advantage are disgusting and depraved.”
Among the anti-voter measures being proposed by Lazich in her bills are:
- Allowing votes to be disallowed after the election, during a recount, if the staff at a polling place failed to have the voter sign the poll book;
- Allowing absentee ballots to be disallowed based on minor clerical errors not the fault of the voter, like the ballot witness failing to include their address;
- Allowing challenges to a voter’s registration during a recount, after votes have been cast and without allowing the accused to dispute the challenge or provide additional information, to result in random destruction of a ballot; and
- Increasing the presence of partisan political operatives in polling places on Election Day.
Lazich’s Senate Republican colleague, Glenn Grothman, had just days earlier announced he would be introducing bills that would drastically restrict the ability of legal voters to cast an in-person absentee ballot and end weekend “Souls to the Polls” voting; put onerous new hurdles for those wishing to assist the elderly living in nursing homes to vote; and finally, quadrupling the threshold for individual political donors to disclose their employers.
Ross noted that Wisconsin’s election administration has been rated among the best states in the nation by the nonpartisan analysts and have had fewer than two dozen cases of voting impropriety since 2004 while ranking among the top states in the nation for voter participation in elections.
He concluded, “In Wisconsin we are rightfully proud of our tradition of clean elections in which citizens do their duty and participate at among the highest rates in the nation. But today the rights of legal voters to cast their ballots and have their vote counted are under attack by politicians like Mary Lazich who are simply afraid of democracy and are determined to manipulate the rules for their own advantage.”
One Wisconsin Now has produced a comprehensive report on the Gov. Walker and the state GOP’s all-out assault on voting in Wisconsin, available at Protecting the Right to Vote in Wisconsin.