Thursday, May 26, 2022

G.O.P. Dysfunction and Turmoil Over Wisconsin Elections Commission Entirely Predictable

Thursday - May 26, 2022




Fortunately, There is a Solution to the Problem -- 
Reconstitute the G.A.B.
 
 
The seeds of the chaotic turmoil and dysfunction among Republicans over the resignation of Republican Wisconsin Election Commissioner Dean Knudson yesterday evening were planted almost seven years ago in late 2015, when Wisconsin state legislative Republicans and then-Governor Scott Walker engineered the completely partisan destruction of the independent, non-partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) and replaced it with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) in a deliberate attempt to gain partisan control over the administration and outcome of elections in this state.
 
Now, because their plans to be able to dominate and control the outcome of elections has not gone quite the way they had hoped and expected, Republicans are engaged in the wholesale undermining and destruction of the WEC and in replacing it with a newly empowered, partisan office of Secretary of State whom they are betting will be occupied after November by a partisan Republican state legislator now running for that office.
 
Instead of moving ahead to try to cast greater doubt, uncertainty and out right manipulation in the administration of Wisconsin elections by undermining election administrators, clerks and WEC Commissioners by exerting even more hyper partisan control, Republicans should, return to the model that every single Republican State Senator and State Representative voted for in the Wisconsin Legislature in early 2007 -- the creation of the non-partisan, independent GAB -- which, instead of partisan appointments to the GAB Board to oversee Wisconsin's elections, ethics and campaign finance laws -- had six retired judges making sound decisions based on the law, not on partisan positioning and advantage that is currently the case.
 
The GAB, during the time of its existence from 2008 to 2015, was considered a model for integrity, independence and impartiality for the administration of elections in the nation. A return to the establishment of the GAB would go a long way toward re-establishing the trust and confidence of Wisconsin voters in our elections and our democracy.

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Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Awaiting a Ruling on Return Absentee Ballots and Voting Drop Boxes

 
Wednesday - May 18, 2022


Green Bay drop box photograph by NBC26 10/23/20

Decision Will Tell Much About What Kind of a State 
and People We Are
 
 
​In the very near future, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to render its decision in a case that will determine how absentee ballots can be returned to election clerks and whether or not the use of safe and secure voting drop boxes, widely used during the 2020 elections in Wisconsin, will continue. The decision by the court could have a particularly significant effect on the votes cast by thousands of Wisconsinites with various disabilities who rely on other people to help them to complete the absentee ballot process and to either mail or personally deliver their ballots to election clerks in time to be counted.
 
The case originated last year when a radical right wing law firm in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), decided it could help Republicans win elections by making it more difficult to vote by absentee ballot and, in particular, to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to vote. WILL, which is largely funded by the ultra-conservative Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, cynically calculated that more Wisconsinites voting by absentee ballot cast their votes for Democrats than Republicans and so by making absentee voting more difficult and outlawing the use of secure voting drop boxes which enabled absentee voters to return their ballots more conveniently, they could reduce the number of votes for Democrats and therefore ensure Republican victories in more elections.
 
Late last year, WILL sought out a conservative circuit court judge that would be sympathetic to their scheme and found one in Waukesha County, Michael Bohren. Bohren blocked the use of secure voter drop boxes for the April 2022 election. The question for WILL then became whether they could have voter drop boxes eliminated for this November's election. The case was appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and then to the Wisconsin Supreme Court where a decision on both matters -- who can actually return or even put in the mail box an absentee ballot for a voter physically or otherwise unable to mail or deliver their ballot to the election clerk themself, and the use of voter drop boxes is expected by June.
 
This matter is attracting national attention and Monday USA Today and Gannett papers throughout the nation published this article about attempts to limit or eliminate completely the use of secure voting drop boxes throughout the nation. CC/WI was interviewed about the situation in Wisconsin.
 
The very troubling attack on Wisconsin voters with disabilities by WILL is explained and explored in this excellent Wisconsin Public Radio article. 
 
We can only hope that conservatives on the Wisconsin Supreme Court will not view this case through the same partisan lenses through which they seem to view and decide so many important and critical matters concerning democracy, justice and equal protection under the law. We already know there are no limits on how far conspiracy theorists, election deniers, ultra-partisan political hacks and Trump-appeasers like Michael GablemanJanel BradtjenTimothy Ramthun and the lawyers at WILL may go to achieve their partisan objectives. What a majority of the Wisconsin Supreme Court soon decides about how citizens who require to be able to vote by absentee ballot and to be able to have their ballots returned and counted in time for their voices to be heard, will tell us much about the kind of state and people we are. And about the future of democracy in Wisconsin.
 
What then can we do to be proactive about voting? You can make sure you are registered to vote. If you’d like to request an absentee ballot by mail, you can also apply now for ballots for the August and November elections to be sent to you. Make your plans to vote in this falls elections. All this can be done at MyVote WI (myvote.wi.gov).
 
Forward,
Jay Heck
 
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Jay Heck
608/256-2686 (office)
608/512-9363 (cell)

Common Cause in Wisconsin
152 Johnson St, Suite 212
Madison, WI 53703
www.commoncausewisconsin.org

Read More...