Two common-sense election reforms, I authored are now headed to the governor’s desk. On Tuesday, the Wisconsin State Assembly approved measures that will increase transparency in the election process and make sure voters are alerted if there is a mistake on their ballot.
The first bill ensures only voters can correct their own ballot and for the first time, every voter in the state will now be able to make sure their ballot is accepted. If there is a problem, voters will then have a chance to correct that error and make sure their vote is counted.
In her dissent in Trump v. Evers, 2020 WI 91, Chief Justice Roggensack raised serious issues regarding ballot curing in our state. She noted that guidance issued by the Wisconsin Elections Commission directed clerks to write in missing address information. However, the statutes do not permit that and, instead, mandate that when ballots are counted, any ballots with missing witness addresses must be discarded. Without clear laws, everyone's absentee ballot is in jeopardy of not counting on election day.
For too long, we have relied on guidance and not the law when it comes to curing ballots. Fixing problems on a ballot is a good thing. Who fixes those mistakes is also important. Until the vote is counted, the ballot should belong to the voter, not the clerk or an outside group.
The Assembly also approved another bill I authored that will protect the rights of the public and election workers while increasing transparency in the process. Senate Bill 210 makes sure election observers are allowed uniform and nondiscriminatory access to all stages of the election process, including the certification of election technologies, early voting, absentee voting, voter appeals, vote tabulation, and recounts. It also includes protections for poll workers so it will be easier for communities to find people to help on Election Day. Senator Darling also urges the governor to sign this important reform.
When the rules are clear for everyone, our election process will be much smoother. These are common-sense, straightforward bills. They do not limit anyone's ability to vote. I urge the governor to sign both bills.