We are making progress in ensuring our elections are fair, transparent, and secure. This week, the State Senate passed two more election reforms. So far, the Senate has approved six different election protections.
On Tuesday, the Senate approved one of my election reforms that will make sure our laws are clear and consistent. Senate Bill 212
, authored by Representative Joe Sanfelippo and me, will give voters notice if there is a problem with their ballot and allows them to correct it. It also helps prevent outside groups from having access to your ballot at any point in the process.
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. For too long, we have relied on guidance and not the law when it comes to curing ballots.
In her dissent in the Trump lawsuit case, Chief Justice Roggensack raised serious issues regarding ballot curing in our state. She noted that guidance issued by the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) 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.
We saw a record level of absentee ballots cast in the last election. Since that trend will likely continue, it’s important to update our statutes and make sure everyone is playing by the same rules.