Wisconsin governor vetoes Republican election bills

Madison, Wis. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, who is up for re-election in November, vetoed a package of bills passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature on Friday that made several changes to the battlefield election Will be law.

Republicans who fast-track the bills do not have the votes to override their vetoes. The bills are part of a nationwide Republican effort to reshape elections following President Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.

The bills were quickly passed earlier this year after Trump insisted the 2020 election was stolen from him and widespread fraud despite no evidence to back up his claims. Courts, recounts, independent audits and partisan reviews have upheld President Joe Biden’s victory of nearly 21,000 votes.

While vetoing eight bills, Evers told lawmakers that “the right to vote is fundamental to our democracy; it should not be subject to the whims of politicians who do not like the outcome of the election.”

Evers said the vetoed bills were “passed under the guise of needing to reform our election system because elected officials in this state have enabled propaganda about our election and the election process.”

Republican supporters argued that the changes were to address deficiencies identified in audits by the non-partisan Legislative Audit Bureau and review conducted by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. But the vetoed bill went far beyond those recommendations and may have changed the way votes are cast and elections are run in Wisconsin.

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who turned down calls from Trump and some Republican lawmakers to annul Biden’s victory, said the bills were about fixing problems for future elections, not past. to give relief.

Vos, who met with Trump, ordered a taxpayer-funded investigation into the election, which is being led by former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman. The subpoena has been investigated in lawsuits challenging the legality of Gableman, filed with the mayors of the state’s largest and most democratic cities.

The court battle is expected to continue in July and probably prolong. Gableman’s current contract runs through the end of April. On a podcast hosted by Trump’s former chief of staff Steve Bannon, Gableman asked fans to call on Vos to pressure him to change his mind about Gableman taking office equipment on April 26.

Vos introduced the possibility for Gableman to revoke the signed summons, a move that would effectively put an end to the official investigation.

Bills that are ever vetoed will have:

Prohibits any person other than a voter, immediate family member or legal guardian from returning absentee ballots. That issue is currently pending before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, with oral arguments scheduled for next week.

– Preventing bar election clerks from filling in any missing information on the voter’s absentee ballot envelope. Trump argued that thousands of ballots where clerks filled out missing information on outer envelopes should be waived, but the courts rejected his argument. The bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission had advised clerks for years that it was okay to fill in the missing information.

– Requires the bipartisan Election Commission to appoint Republican and Democratic-aligned attorneys to work with commission members and offer what would be contrary to legal advice. Nonpartisan attorneys currently work for the commission.

— Give the legislature control over the guidance provided by the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission to local election clerks.

— Limit who can identify as indefinitely limited, a condition that allows absentee ballots for those who cannot reach the ballot because of age, illness, or disability.

– The state is required to check to ensure that registered voters are citizens of the United States.

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