Some of Wisconsin’s latest proposed election changes may actually become law.
Both Republicans and Democrats at the Capitol on Wednesday agreed on new legislation that would re-work some of the fringes of the way that Wisconsin’s elections work.
One of those plans is Assembly Bill 298, which would require a vote of the full city council or county board before a city or county could close polling places.
Milwaukee State Senator Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, said that change goes straight back to the long lines in Milwaukee during the 2020 election.
“In 2020 the residents of Milwaukee had to be in line for six blocks. They had 175 polling locations sold,” Taylor. “It truly was an issue to see people standing for six blocks, in the rain. With five polling locations.”
Another plan, Assembly Bill 283 would have the Wisconsin Elections Commission reimburse local election managers for the costs of special elections in the state.
“It’s not a blank check,” Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, D-Milwaukee, added.
Assembly Bill 282 would require any election office that livestreams Election Night vote counting to keep the recordings.
A fourth plan, which lawmakers said was still being worked on, would require a military ID for all military ballots or absentee ballots.
“I believe there are ways to…try and figure out ways to make sure our military members are not having their votes stolen, not having their votes discounted by people pretending to be armed forces members,” Sortwell said.
Wisconsin law currently does not require any kind of voter ID for military ballots. A former Milwaukee Elections Commission worker mailed three fake military ballots to State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, R-Menomonee Falls, last year to expose the loophole.
Under the new plan, Assembly Bill 299, military members would have to provide their DOD number along with their ballot for their vote to be counted.
Sortwell said the proposal is not ready for a vote yet, but promised to find a way to “adapt and overcome as they say in the military.”
Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed many of the past attempts to reform or clarify Wisconsin’s elections laws post-2020. The governor has said he will not sign any new law that makes it tougher to vote.