Wisconsin

Articles about voting issues in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin: Democrats seek to bring case back to Supreme Court before 2020 elections | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin Republicans are claiming victory with Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to send a lawsuit over the state’s legislative boundaries back to a lower court without addressing whether the map is constitutionally drawn. But Democrats say the ruling doesn’t put the legal fight to bed as Republicans suggest, and vow to clear any hurdle to get the nation’s highest court to answer the question of whether Wisconsin’s districts are so partisan that they violate the Constitution before the next round of map drawing. Read More

Wisconsin: Gerrymandering case: Very ‘red’ map in ‘purple’ Wisconsin | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Wisconsin legislative map at the heart of the U.S. Supreme Court’s closely watched redistricting case is a stark example of how district lines can be drawn to keep one party in power in a very purple state no matter how it is faring at the ballot box. In good times and bad, Wisconsin Republicans have enjoyed a virtual lock on the 99-seat state Assembly, thanks to the map they drew in 2011. Their control of the Legislature is essentially baked in before voters go to the polls to pick their representatives. How tilted is the map? Here is one way to measure it: Take the top-of-the-ticket statewide election results (for governor or president) as a measure of how many people are supporting each party in a given year. Then see how those voters are distributed across the state’s 99 Assembly districts to find out how many seats favor each party. Read More

Wisconsin: Appeals court yet to rule on voter ID, election laws after 16 months | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

More than a year after hearing arguments, a federal appeals court has yet to rule on a host of Wisconsin voting laws, including aspects of the state’s voter ID statute. The long delay has left some scratching their heads and raised questions about whether the court will act before this year’s elections, including the fast-approaching Aug. 14 primary.  “It is rare but not unprecedented for a case to take this long,” said Joshua Douglas, a University of Kentucky College of Law professor. “I do think it’s very weird and I’m very surprised it has taken this long.” What’s at issue has only grown more complicated. In one recent development, the state sued a voting rights group to try to prevent it from contacting voters who have had difficulty getting free state IDs. Litigation over the voter ID law has been going on since shortly after the measure was approved seven years ago. The law has largely been upheld, but courts have modified parts of it to make it easier for people who don’t have birth certificates to get free IDs. Read More

Wisconsin: Elections Commission Outlines Security Spending Plan | Associated Press

Wisconsin Elections Commission staff plan to hire a half-dozen new employees and upgrade software to bolster election security. The commission received a $7 million federal grant in March to upgrade security after Russian actors tried to access a state Department of Workforce Development system before the 2016 election. Staff told the commission Thursday that the Department of Administration has approved hiring six new four-year security positions, including an information technology project manager, an elections security trainer and a voting systems specialist. Read More

Wisconsin: Department of Justice challenges Wisconsin’s overseas voter restrictions | Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice is threatening to sue Wisconsin over its restrictions on overseas voters. The Wisconsin Elections Commission released a letter Tuesday that it received from the DOJ on May 9. The letter warned the agency is preparing to sue because Wisconsin law doesn’t allow temporary overseas voters to obtain ballots electronically or to file unofficial ballots. Read More

Wisconsin: Cyber security expert proposes analog solution to election hacking | Lacrosse Tribune

A New York attorney and cyber security expert says it may be time for American elections to be tallied with hand-counted ballots. Alexander Urbelis, a computer hacker-turned-lawyer, says vulnerabilities in voting technologies, combined with the weaponization of personal data and rampant disinformation campaigns that underpinned the 2016 presidential election, have created “a really dangerous situation” for democracy. “We live in a state of disbelief,” Urbelis said. “Facts aren’t facts, and nothing is verifiable.” Meanwhile, Urbelis said vote tabulation equipment — such as the optical scanners widely used in Wisconsin — could be vulnerable to hacking at a local level or within the supply chain. Read More

Wisconsin: Elections Commission mulls using $7 million to stop hackers | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The state Elections Commission outlined initial plans Wednesday to use $7 million in federal funds to thwart hackers and boost election security by hiring workers, training clerks and upgrading software. The commissioners unanimously signed off on the framework of the plan and asked Gov. Scott Walker’s administration to approve it. Department of Administration spokesman Steven Michels said the administration is inclined to grant permission to accept the federal cash. The move to tighten election security comes almost two years after Russian agents targeted election systems around the country, according to federal officials. In the summer of 2016, Russian government actors tried unsuccessfully to gain access to a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development system as they scanned for vulnerabilities they could exploit at the Elections Commission, according to those officials. Read More

Wisconsin: Attorney General Brad Schimel suggests Trump won Wisconsin because of voter ID | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Attorney General Brad Schimel this week suggested Donald Trump won Wisconsin in 2016 because the state had its voter ID law in place. His comments drew a rebuke from liberals, who said they saw it as an admission by the Republican attorney general that the voter ID law suppresses Democratic turnout. Voter ID is expected to play a prominent role in Schimel’s re-election bid. He has fought in court to keep the law in place and his opponent, Josh Kaul, is the lead attorney challenging it and a host of other election laws. “We battled to get voter ID on the ballot for the November ’16 election,” Schimel told conservative host Vicki McKenna on WISN (1130 AM) on Thursday. Read More

Wisconsin: Voters by a wide margin keep Wisconsin’s 170-year-old state treasurer’s office | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It turns out Wisconsinites want to have a state treasurer, after all. By a strong margin, 61% to 39%, voters Tuesday beat back a constitutional amendment and kept Wisconsin’s 170-year-old treasurer’s office. “I’m flabbergasted that the results are as high as they are,” said former GOP Treasurer Jack Voight, who led a coalition to keep the office. “I thought it would be a much closer vote than this.” With little spending on either side of the referendum and no known polling, it wasn’t clear until Tuesday which side would prevail in the contest that culminated a years-long effort to abolish the office. Some voters may have been surprised just to find the question on their ballots. “No governor, no politician or political party should be above our state constitution,” Voight said. Read More

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker abandons court fight to hold off special elections | Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

An appellate judge Wednesday became the third in a week to rule against Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to hold off on two special elections, prompting Walker to abandon an attempt to take the issue to the state Supreme Court. Walker is expected to order the special legislative elections by Thursday’s noon deadline set by a judge last week. Walker and his fellow Republicans who control the Legislature this week have been advancing legislation that could avoid the special elections and they could still pursue that option — which would trigger a new court fight.  Read More