Senate Republicans moved three election-related bills through committee last week, removing a controversial provision from one and taking no action on a fourth bill that was criticized by election watchdog groups. The caucus is also balking at other controversial election reforms such as doubling campaign contribution limits, an Assembly-approved bill requiring voters to present photo identification and a constitutional amendment to change the recall process. Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, also added an election reform idea to the mix: ending same-day voter registration; however, he immediately acknowledged the bill had no chance of passing this session. Of 15 election-related bills still under consideration, eight have Democratic support, while the prospects for at least four remain up in the air, said Dan Romportl, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.
Wisconsin: Senate adopts election bills; poll workers of each party would do certain tasks | Journal Sentinel
The state Senate on Tuesday adopted four bills tweaking how elections are administered, including measures requiring that poll workers of opposite parties perform certain tasks. Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the author of the bills, said she advanced them to avoid what she considered irregularities and “sloppy” practices in the recount of the 2012 recall election for state senator in Racine County. Democrats contended Republicans were getting carried away in presuming poll workers are allied with political parties or prone to act corruptly. “Obviously, these bills are designed to do one thing — make it more difficult to vote, make it more difficult to be a clerk,” said Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay). All Republicans supported the measures and most Democrats opposed them. The measures now go to the Assembly, which like the Senate is controlled by Republicans.
Republicans in the state Senate are looking to overhaul numerous election laws this fall, including one measure that would allow poll workers to serve in communities other than where they live. Critics contended at a public hearing Wednesday that the change could lead to out-of-town partisans replacing poll workers who have long worked on election day in the community where they live. Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin), the author of the bills, said she does not intend to replace local poll workers with people from other communities and would consider changes to her proposals. Lazich is the chairwoman of the Senate Elections and Urban Affairs Committee, and she presided over a hearing on her bills Wednesday. Other bills she drafted would give governors more leeway in whom they appoint to the state’s elections and ethics board; require poll workers to record what type of document voters show to prove residency; and change how ballot containers are sealed. Under current law, poll workers generally must come from the municipality in which they work, and often must live in the voting ward.