WI GOP Opposes Vote-By-Mail Even Though Over 80% Of GOP Lawmakers Just Used It

State Senator Scott Fitzgerald in 2019.Screengrab / Wisconsin Eye / YouTube

PMH

Even though state GOP lawmakers opposed expanding absentee ballot access in WI, most voted absentee themselves.

The Chicago Tribune reports that according to an analysis of absentee voting records provided to the Associated Press by A Better Wisconsin Together, a liberal advocacy group, the majority of Wisconsin state lawmakers have taken advantage of the opportunity to vote by mail in recent elections.

  • In Wisconsin’s April 2020 presidential primary and supreme court election, 83% of Republican state senators and 81% of Republican Assembly members voted by mail with an absentee ballot.
  • For comparison, in the 2018 and 2016 general elections, only about 33% of Wisconsin’s Republican state senators and 18% of Republican Assembly members voted by absentee.
  • In spite of this, Republican lawmakers had “fought against making that election mail-in only as Democrats and Governor Tony Evers (D-WI) proposed,” the Tribune reports.
  • Lawmakers have also previously passed state laws that limit the time frame in which votes can be cast by absentee ballot, that limit locations where people can vote in-person absentee, and that make it more difficult to obtain a ballot.
  • Additionally, some Wisconsin Republicans have spoken against the bipartisan state elections commission’s plan to mail absentee ballot applications to 2.7 million voters.
  • Senator Scott Fitzgerald, the Wisconsin state Senate majority leader, said in May that he opposed mailing out applications for absentee ballots because the voter list had not been “cleaned up” to remove people who should not be on the list. He suggested that some voters may have moved.
  • Fitzgerald explained that Wisconsin already “has online registration, excuse-free absentee voting, early in-person voting, and Election Day registration, making it easier to vote in Wisconsin than most other states.” Fitzgerald voted absentee in April.
  • In contrast, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who voted in-person in April, is supporting the elections commission’s plan to mail absentee ballot applications.
  • Nevertheless, Vos opposed an attempt by Evers to hold the April election by mail only, as well as an attempt to hold Wisconsin’s remaining 2020 elections by mail only.

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