The Senate and Assembly passed several bills to Gov. Tony Evers regarding absentee voting changes during their sessions this week.
One of these bills, Assembly Bill 1002, was introduced by Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-99, and would create more clear standards for determining who qualifies as an “indefinitely confined” voter. An “indefinitely confined” voter is someone who can request an absentee ballot without showing photo identification, according to AP News. In the 2020 presidential election, it was up to the voter to decide whether they were legitimately indefinitely confined.
Voters under 65 years old seeking this status would be required to submit a signed physician’s note and would be prohibited from using an epidemic as a reason to receive this status in the future. Additionally, this bill would remove the status of “indefinitely confined” from voters who received it between March 12 and Nov. 6 last year.
According to Duchow, the bill would promote honesty in absentee voting, especially with the requirement for photo identification that would guarantee that every person gets one vote.
“The bill is a response to the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau’s review of the 2020 elections administration audit, which found a massive influx of “indefinitely confined” voters, possibly caused by illegal instructions issued by clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties,” Duchow said in an email statement to The Badger Herald.
According to Disability Rights Wisconsin, however, the bill would complicate voting for Wisconsin’s disabled population.
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Executive director of the League of Women’s Votes Debra Cronmiller said their organization is generally against bills like Bill 1002 that “put up new and undesirable barriers for individuals who are voters.” According to Cronmiller, current laws without these barriers made it easier for voters in Wisconsin to vote at the polls in the 2020 election because there were less people dealing with registration issues.
Democrats in the Assembly did not support the Republican-sponsored bills that hinder the Wisconsin voter. In a speech to the Assembly Thursday, Senator Lisa Subeck, D-78, made this position clear.
“Our democracy is too precious to allow Republicans to burn it down,” Subeck said in her speech.
Since the 2020 presidential election, Wisconsin Republicans have made other efforts to suppress voting in the state, including disallowing absentee drop boxes and allowing a Republican-controlled committee to get rid of staff and funding to state agencies.
Evers will likely veto the bills, according to AP News.